Some people never want to stop working. Just ask Bartolomeo “Bennie” Ficeto, who still works at the local Stop and Shop grocery store in Edison, New Jersey at 97-years-old. The World War II veteran isn’t looking to retire anytime soon. Instead, he’s happy to be surrounded by people on a daily basis and his work ethic can be inspirational to all of us.
Still Going Strong
Ficeto doesn’t let his old age stop him from doing anything he wants. Instead, he proves daily that age is just a number. Twice a week, Ficeto gets dressed for work, but he never forgets his special hat with a B-25 Mitchell bomber on the front, reminding him of his service during World War II.
The veteran has since described his war memories as “very dangerous.” At one point, he didn’t think he would ever make it back home. Ficeto said, “The day I didn’t fly out, they shot my plane down.” Ficeto also commented that he was scared every time he got into his fighter plane. But he still put his life on the line every day because that was his job. Now he has a different job and this one is much less stressful.
Happy To Work
For the past 10 years, Ficeto has been working twice a week at Edison, New Jersey’s Stop and Shop grocery store. He has become a regular face in the store, bagging groceries for customers. He always strikes up a conversation, hoping to brighten someone’s day. Stop and Shop manager Sal Marconi said, “Bennie’s a joy. He’s full of life. He’s happy.”
Customers love seeing Ficeto at the store. They’re disappointed when he isn’t working when they go into the grocery store. Fellow veterans strike up conversations with Ficeto, sharing their war stories together. One customer told Ficeto he had served in both the Korean and Vietnam wars. When the 97-year-old veteran heard this, he took the time to shake his hand and thank him for the service, and the customer reciprocated the gratitude. The customer added, “Glad you made it back. We both made it back okay.” The customer also reminded Ficeto of the true meaning of Memorial Day—a day to remember the fallen heroes who didn’t make it back home. “It’s for the people,” the customer said. “The men that never came back.”
A Good Work Ethic
Conversations like these keep Ficeto going. He completes his shift, not even taking his entitled 15-minute break. He would rather work, so he works his shift, always with a smile on his face. It’s easy for him because the people he encounters are so friendly to him. He added, “People are so nice. It makes you feel proud.”
Ficeto isn’t going to stop anytime soon either. “I’m going for 100,” he joked. While he might be older than most grocery store employees, he can still stand for long periods of time. He still has his senses and is able to hear, talk, and pick up grocery items. Sometimes, it takes a little longer than other grocery store baggers, but he completes his job. People need to learn from him the value of a good work ethic. Ficeto doesn’t have any plans to retire from his job. Since he only works two days a week, he still has time for family and friends. But he always looks forward to working— where he can interact with others and listen to their stories. He added, “I plan to keep working until I drop dead.”
We hope that won’t be anytime soon because Ficeto’s certainly making a difference in Edison, New Jersey. Now he’s encouraging people all over the world—demonstrating the value of hard work and commitment. The grocery store wouldn’t be the same without him.
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