83 years young and still loving work
Allan Osman didn’t take to retirement very well.
‘‘One day, I took the car to the [Porirua] City centre, parked it up and went to the shops for a while,’’ he explained.
‘‘Then I walked home to Elsdon. The wife said to me, ‘Where’s the car?’ ‘‘That’s when I knew I had to get back into work — it was about making sure my mind was still active, not just the body.’’
The 83- year- old is one of a handful of original staff members still working at Bunnings Warehouse Porirua store 10 years after it opened. He has the same job, still — the smiling face many customers will see as they come through the doors.
If you have small children, chances are he’s given them a balloon.
Osman’s official job title includes the word ‘‘security’’, but he said it was much more about greeting people with a smile.
He’s on his feet from 7am till 2pm every day, apart from breaks.
‘‘I love meeting people. Kids call me the ‘ boon [meaning balloon] man’ and it’s great to be able to say hello to the regulars.
‘‘The people here at Bunnings call me Grandad and they’re like my extended family.’’
Osman grew up during the Blitz in World War II in south London. He recalled his house collapsing while his family were in it during one night of bombing, and reckons the war cost him any chance of an education.
He worked in the merchant navy and got to see the world. A short stay in Lyttlelton convinced him New Zealand was the place to settle down.
After a short time living in Newtown, he and wife Maud — married 46 years now – got the opportunity to buy in Titahi Bay in 1968.
They moved to a home in Elsdon in 1974, and still live there.
He has been a traffic officer, a security guard and ran his own driving school.
Osman has four sons and a daughter, 19 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren, the last born just weeks ago.
‘‘It can be expensive, all these birthdays. We find it hard to keep track,’’ he said.
Osman’s sunny outlook on life and his smile every day at Bunnings Warehouse is indicative of his life’s philosophy.
‘‘I was taught to treat people how you’d like to be treated yourself. I may not have had a school education, but I’ve had one in life.
‘‘My message to everyone is to appreciate the life you have and just get on with it.’’
Smiling: Allan Osman loves his job on the door at Bunnings Warehouse Porirua.