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90-year-old woman who never missed a day's work reveals final straw that made her quit her job

Rhianna Benson

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90-year-old woman who never missed a day's work reveals final straw that made her quit her job

Featured Image Credit: Credit: KLTV 7/FOX

Whilst some professionals are already counting down the days until they can retire, one Texas pensioner has admitted she loved her job as a department store worker so much that she refused to take a sick day for 74-years.

Melba Mabane, 90, first gained employment at the long-standing store in Tyler as a 17-year-old, back in 1949.

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She was initially hired by the store's predecessor as an elevator operator, and for the next six decades, she would arrive promptly by 9am to bag a spot in the property's colossal car park.

"I loved going to work every day," she told press this summer. "If you're happy with what you're doing, why not keep doing it?"

In June 2023, however, Mabane began to find the 30 minute commute to work increasingly difficult, and after 74 years, she and Dillard's called it quits.

"As soon as I walked through the door, I put my car keys on the table, looked at my son, and said, 'I'm done,'" she told CNBC.

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Her son Terry also recalled 'growing up' at the fashion and cosmetic department store.

A huge party was thrown when Melba retired. Credit: KLTV7
A huge party was thrown when Melba retired. Credit: KLTV7

"She's a grinder," he told the news outlet. "The store would open at 10 and she wanted her parking spot, so she got there between 9 o’clock and 9:15.

"She was the first person in the door and had her counter ready. She did the prep work. She only took 30 minutes for lunch.

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"She brought her lunch, went upstairs to eat lunch in 25 minutes, and then she was back on the floor because she knew that people often took off [during] their lunch hour to come to the mall to buy what they were going buy, and she didn’t want to miss her opportunity."

During her career, Mabane went from the men's clothing department to the cosmetics counter, believing she'd found the right fit for her.

Melba and her son Terry. Credit: Instagram/@terrymabana
Melba and her son Terry. Credit: Instagram/@terrymabana

She remained on the beauty counter - offering advice and assistance to customers who travelled from all over Texas - until she retired this year.

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"There were these gift baskets that one of the girls just could not sell," she recalled one of her working highlights.

"They asked me to try, so I stepped out from behind the counter in the aisle and talked to people about the baskets.

"I sold every single one. So I was told that's where I was staying."

Mabane also revealed that throughout the duration of her time working at the store, she refused to take a sick day, even when she was feeling under the weather.

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"I liked my friends at work, and I wanted to keep them, so I just focused on being the best salesperson I could be."

Mabana said the commute had gotten increasingly difficult. Credit: Instagram/@terrymabane
Mabana said the commute had gotten increasingly difficult. Credit: Instagram/@terrymabane

When she turned 65, Mabane was told by management that she could continue working at the store as long as she wanted, and that when she retired this year, they'd actually begged her to stay.

"Can you imagine how many people she coached and taught and trained to aspire to be more?" her store manager James Saenz told Fox News Digital.

"It’s just amazing to think of how many people's lives she touched," he added.

"She's not just a salesperson. She's a mother. She guides you. She gives you advice on life. She’s amazing."

Dillard's hosted a retirement party for Melba, where she was given a 'beyond excellence award' and celebrated by the entire workforce.

A plaque featuring her photo is now hanging on the wall inside the Tyler store.

Topics: News, Money, Shopping, Health, Texas, US News

Rhianna Benson
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