90-Year-Old Woman Hasn’t Missed a Single Day of Work in 74 Years, Cries When She Finally Retires

A Texas woman, Melba Mebane, worked in sales for Dillard’s department store for 74 years. She never missed a day or called in sick during this time.

Melba, 90, has a unique story to tell about her time as Dillard’s employee. Her coworkers and people who worked with her over the years also opened up about Melba.

Melba started her career in 1949 at the Mayer & Schmidt department store in Tyler, Texas. She worked as an elevator girl.

In 1956, Dillard acquired the Mayer & Schmidt department store, and Melba continued to work for them until she retired on July 2023 at 90 years old.

What Was Melba’s Job at Dillard?

Melba worked as a salesperson at Dillard. She noted that while she was on the sales floor, she enjoyed seeing everyone she knew.

However, she first worked as an elevator girl for six months before she was promoted to the men’s clothing department.

During her career, Melba raised her son Terry Mebane as a single mom. According to Terry, her mother moved from the men’s clothing department to cosmetics, where she worked for the rest of her career.

Terry noted that one day a person called in sick, and his mother was asked to fill in, in cosmetics, which she focused on until retirement. Melba’s son said she proved to be up to the task.

The company was trying to sell gift baskets to customers at one time, but the sales weren’t good. Melba figured out how to sell them. She moved out behind the counter in the aisle and went to talk to people on the floor about the gift basket. In the end, she sold all the baskets.

When manufacturers learned just how good Melba was at sales, they started sending her products, such as bottles of perfume, so that she could promote their merchandise.

Terry said her mother had several perfume bottles at home, such as Chanel and Coco, that she loved giving away. He recalled:

“Our pastor called her the cosmetic bootlegger because on the way out, she would hand him samples as he was taking her hand and telling her to have a good day.”

Terry confessed that corporate leadership, members of the Dillard family, and employees had told him Melba was the heart of the store.

What Do Friends, Colleagues, and Managers Say about Melba?

Melba’s friends, colleagues, and managers threw her a retirement party. The salesperson decided to retire after some health issues kept her away from the job for a few weeks.

Melba realized she wasn’t functioning at 100% anymore and knew it was time to retire. She also noted that she couldn’t drive, and none of her friends worked at Dillard anymore.

Despite the praise Melba received, some people felt sorry for her because she worked for 74 years and never had time for herself.

During her retirement party, colleagues said positive things about Melba that left her in tears. The Vice President of Dillard, Drue Methany, has known Melba for 65 years. Drue said Melba gave so much service to the community and made so many friends:

“I would come to watch her in cosmetics and just go, I wish I could be like that, ’cause she was incredible with people, still is.”

Terry said her mother was great friends with Mr. and Mrs Dillard. The Dillards adored her so much that in her older years, they exempted Melba from working on Sundays and night shifts.

Dillard’s store manager James Saez said Melba coached so many people and pushed them to aspire for more. James noted that Melba set the tone for customer service quality at Dillard.

James and other Dillard employees gave Melba a “Beyond Excellence” award to honor her. A plaque featuring her photo also hangs on the wall inside the store.

Melba’s friend, Ginger Wimbs, whom she worked with for 33 years, said her coworker had funny stories and loved people and work. Ginger revealed that Melba would be missed not only for her sales ability but also for her friendship, as she was caring and giving.

Terry confessed that even in her older years, Melba still worked 40 hours a week. In her 70s and 80s, she worked four eight-hour days. Terry drove and picked up her mother during the winter and in bad weather.

Online users who saw her story said Melba is an “inspiration” and “role model” for young people. “She must have liked and loved her work to be dedicated like that, she had what almost everybody wanted, I adore her.”

Despite the praise Melba received, some people felt sorry for her because she worked for 74 years and never had time for herself. One person said:

“This is the saddest story I’ve heard in a while. She worked her entire life away and now that she’s in her last few years, she retires. That’s tragic.”

Another person noted that Melba’s story was a sad reality for many Americans as the country doesn’t have a great welfare that supports the retirement of its retiring citizens:

“If they don’t work, there is no pay. Older people are force to work instead of enjoying the fruits of their labour .”

However, Melba, who enjoyed her work for over 70 years, has nothing bad to say about her time working. She only advised people starting out in business to come to work consistently and never see it just as a paycheck. Melba asked people to stay where God had planted them.

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