83 years young and still loving work

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By KRIS DANDO

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.’’

Photo: KRIS DANDO

Smil­ing: Al­lan Os­man loves his job on the door at Bun­nings Ware­house Porirua.

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