DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - An 80-year-old man is being honored as the longest-serving employee at Piccadilly Cafeteria in the Volusia Mall.
On Tuesday, Benjamin Johnson celebrated his 60th year as a server at the cafeteria in Daytona Beach. Some two dozen people attended a surprise party in his honor.
"Mr. Ben," as he's known by co-workers and longtime customers, says he's got no plans to retire, even after he turns 81 later this month.
"He's probably the hardest working individual I have on my staff," Piccadilly's general manager David Mikulski told the Daytona Beach News-Journal. He says that during events such as Bike Week or speed weeks, out-of-town visitors will stop in to ask when Mr. Ben is working so they can dine when he's on duty.
"It's a blessing to come and feel like you're doing a good day's work," Johnson said.
Johnson began as a full-time server at the old Morrison's Cafeteria on April 1, 1954. Piccadilly later bought the company.
Johnson's wife of 56 years, Lottie, and members of the Mount Mission Missionary Baptist Church attended the party.
The church's pastor, the Rev. David Strapp, says he's been one of Mr. Ben's customers since he was a boy.
"He's been a great inspiration to me," he said. "He's very humble, a man that's true to his word."
Customers say Johnson always smiles and jokes around.
"You've got to have the right attitude," he said of his approach to the job. "I come with an attitude to fee and not be fed, and to serve and not be served."
He currently works three days a week, Monday through Wednesday.
"I enjoy what I'm doing," he said. "That makes a difference. I've done it so long, it's become a part of me."
Mikulski said the restaurant's 39 employees include four with 30 or more years of service and several more with 20 or more years with the company.
During the party, he presented Johnson with a commemorative plaque and a sheet cake bearing the words "60 years." Johnson, his family and friends were treated to lunch on the house.
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