EDISON, NJ (ABC) – Who doesn’t love a surprise party?
Bartolomeo “Bennie” Ficeto, a 98-year-old World War II veteran, received a special surprise from his co-workers for his birthday.
Ficeto works two shifts a week as a bag boy at his local Stop & Shop in Edison, New Jersey, and insists on not taking a break.
“Why would I take a break when I only get to work four hours?” Ficeto said.
Ficeto has worked at Stop & Shop for 10 years, and is beloved by customers and staff.
“Bennie’s a joy,” manager Sal Marconi previously told ABC New York station WABC. “He’s full of life, he’s happy.”
To celebrate his special day, his co-workers surprised him with a party during his shift.
“What do we have here?” Ficeto asked. “This is for me?”
Along with his colleagues, family and some community members came out for the occasion. The celebration kicked off with food, music and, of course, cake.
There was even a performance by the USO Show Troupe, serenading Ficeto with a special rendition of “Happy Birthday” and tunes from the WWII era.
During the war, Ficeto served in the Army Air Forces as a gunner on a B-25 Mitchell bomber.
He shared stories from his time in the service, recalling one experience in particular when he missed a day and his plane was shot down.
“The Lord always took me home,” he said.
Since leaving the military, Ficeto has held many different jobs, such as being a barber to working for a cosmetics company.
As for retirement, Ficeto doesn’t plan on leaving anytime soon. He said he will continue until he’s 100.
“I love working here,” he said. “I love the people here.”