WWII Air Force Gunner is Still Working at Age 97, and Proud of It

March 23, 2019 Updated: March 27, 2019

Most people practically count down the days until they get to formally retire.

For 97-year-old World War II veteran Bartolomeo Ficeto, though, the thought of not going in to his job twice a week, even at his age, is unfathomable.

Ficeto told ABC News 7 New York that he had been a gunner during the second World War over 70 years ago, stepping into a plane day after day without ever knowing if he was going to make it to nightfall alive.

Having survived such a harrowing experience, he feels blessed and lucky to be alive today—and doesn’t let something like age stop him from getting a chance to interact with others and earn some extra cash a few times a week.

B-25 (Public domain)

The Edison, New Jersey resident works at a Stop and Shop two days a week, bagging groceries nearly thirty years after the average American retires from the workforce.

Ficeto explained to ABC 7 that people are incredibly kind to him, giving him a sense of pride as he walks through the door with a smile on his face a few times a week. A local paper wrote a story about him recently, and the grocery store put it up on the wall—reminding him that they appreciate him and everything he does, too.

This 97-year-old WWII veteran proves age is just a number. Bennie Ficeto works two days a week at a grocery store in New Jersey and looks forward to every single day. He is proud of his years — and we are proud of him. https://7ny.tv/2FhYFPG

ABC7NY 发布于 2019年3月19日周二

It may seem surprising that the near-centenarian still enjoys going in to the kind of grind that bagging groceries can be, but statistics suggest that he probably gets as much out of the arrangement as anyone. As older people begin to lose their friends and family members in old age, depression becomes all too common without something to look forward to. For Ficeto, the chance to interact with the customers a few times a week is likely a welcome opportunity to share the smile his manager said he always has on.

“Bennie’s a joy, he’s full of life, he’s happy,” manager Sal Marconi said.

Sure enough, it appears that he’s there to keep the people of Edison, New Jersey happy with their groceries—and take care of them a bit from time to time.

“This man is awesome,” one person wrote on Facebook. “He actually came up to me one day and scolded me for not having a jacket on when it was raining out. I told him it was keeping my car warm and he got a chuckle. I’ve moved since then, but will always remember his smile!!!”

If it seems like the happy-go-lucky vet might start to slow down soon, though he insists that isn’t the case. He told ABC 7 that he plans to “work until he drops dead,” telling them that he’s not old and still has all of his senses about him.

Illustration (Public domain)