Joe Grier, a 98-year-old man who lives in Chicago and is believed to be the oldest full-time employee in the U.S. is sharing some wisdom after he just celebrated his birthday. Grier, who still works every day, said his longtime job as a craftsman at one of The Planter Companies is part of what keeps him happy. “It makes me feel good,” he said in an interview with Fox 32. “I’m able to associate myself with things that I’ve associated myself with for so long. It’s a habit.”
As a craftsman on the West Side of Chicago, Grier makes molds for trophies. His passion, unsurprisingly, inspires his colleagues. “He’s a mentor for everybody that works here. He’s just somebody who has been here for so long, who teaches us everything, who has taught us everything,” Eric Priceman, owner of The Planter Companies, told Fox 32.
Grier said the key to longevity is to control his own thinking, meaning he doesn’t allow negative thoughts to disrupt his happiness. Whenever he faces problems, Grier looks at the challenge as an opportunity to do something greater instead of succumbing to the chaos going on at the time. “It’s how you look at them and how you deal with them and then, they’re no longer a problem,” he said.
Another key? Lots of laughter. “It’s easy for me to laugh,” he said. “Perhaps it’s because of my long years of living and the things that I’ve experienced, most things are funny.”
Grier’s community honored him at Chicago’s New Life Holiness Church on Saturday, with Mayor Brandon Johnson and Rep. Danny Davis in attendance, Fox 32 reported. Davis presented a plaque to Grier, saying the beloved Chicago resident is being recognized for his “longevity, his tenacity, his inspiration, his motivation and his expertise.”
“Mr. Grier, we want to honor your work, how much you have meant to thousands of people during your lifetime — those who have known you, those who have watched you and those who have admired you,” Davis said. “May the good Lord continue to bless and keep you.”