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Great Hera!

Cool Lady of the Day: Postwoman of Steel Retires in Glory Without Taking a Single Sick Day

Deborah Ford retires today, after a career that’s older than Sesame Street, the Moon Landing, and The Brady Bunch, and that, in and of itself, would be impressive enough. But the sixty-four year old postal worker has also completed her forty-four year career without taking a single sick day.

She doesn’t want any praise for it, however. To her, it all comes down to doing the right thing. From Yahoo! News:

“I was trying to do the best I could, and that just evolved into working all my scheduled days…” Ford said her father, who is 86 years old and never took a sick days in 30 years, also doesn’t see what the fuss is about. “It’s just part of our work ethic.”

And it’s not that Ford never got sick. She did! She just “shook it off” or at worst used a vacation day to see the doctor. And that sacrifice of more than four thousand hours of paid sick leave has at least paid off a little: with a 5% increase to her pension. What’ll she do with it?

Ford says she’ll “rest up and see where life takes me,” maybe do some volunteer work, or take some classes. But that she’ll definitely be spending more time with her eighty-six year old dad. She won’t miss the job, but she will miss her coworkers, “the lives you touched and the lives that touched your life,” and we’re sure they’ll miss her too!

(via The FW.)


  • Anonymous

    She sounds like a great lady except: “and it’s not that Ford never got sick. She did! She just “shook it off” or at worst used a vacation day to see the doctor.” Shook it off. Right. Basically, she and her father have awesome immune systems, and aren’t greatly effected by viruses. That’s great, but the tone of this article disturbs me. It seems to imply that government workers that get sick should just “shake it off,” and if they don’t, they have poor work ethics. I work with people who have great immune systems, and they routinely come into work sick, spread their sickness to all of the workers who have much weaker immune systems, and then act like being genetically lucky some sort of fucking personal accomplishment. Those people are not “awesome” – they’re self-involved assholes.

  • Kathryn

    That and she used her holidays instead of sick days so she did actually take sick days, ergo this article is incorrect and falsified.

    Not the fault of TMS, certainly.

  • Anonymous

    Yeah, that’s what government workers should do, if they want to “do the right thing.” They should sacrifice the time they might devote to their families or communities or fulfilling activities and use that time instead for when they’re simply too sick to work. Boy, I bet her union LOVES her.

  • Kathryn

    It could definitely be used as an anti-union, anti-worker’s rights piece, i.e. This Woman Did This (Okay We’ve Glossed Over Facts And Portrayed Them Incorrectly) So Why Can’t You?

    I mean it was her right, I assume, to use her vacation as sick days. But not all of us can do so. Many businesses require you to book a percentage (if not all) of your holidays in advance.

  • Anonymous

    It’s not just anti-union, it’s anti-business as well. Person with strong immune system, knowing that they’re infected with a virus, comes into work, spreads that virus to all of the workers with weaker immune systems, forcing them to take time off work and lowering productivity overall. Yeah, sounds . . . great.

  • Anonymous

    After all those years of not calling in sick, she only gets a 5% increase to her pension? I don’t really know how that all works, but doesn’t that seem a little low? An aunt of mine worked for the post office for over 40 years and she only ever took time off to have children. Upon her retirement she got a pretty big check to pay out all those sick days she never took. Surprisingly big!

  • Kathryn

    Pretty much. Though there are businesses (retail is terrible for this) that would want you to come in even if you were dead.

    Edit: I meant the way this story could be spun could be anti-union, i.e. used to feed the misconceptions about unions. Not that her actions in themselves may have been anti-union.

  • Aeryl

    I don’t think that meant she used her vacation time as sick time, just requested vacation days after she came down sick to go to the doctor later.

    I could be wrong, but that’s how I read it.

  • Kathryn

    But that would still typically be classed a sick day, i.e. a day she took off due to illness.

  • Shannon Phillips

    Yeah, I have a big problem with casting this as heroic or exemplary. It is *better* for society if workers have AND USE sick days. I would not want a flu-ridden postal worker handling my letters and walking all around the neighborhood spreading infection to babies, the elderly, etc. I want them to stay home, rest, get better, and NOT INFECT anybody else. (And using vacation days instead of sick days is so wrong too — people need and deserve real time off.)

    This woman’s supervisors should have explained to her that sick days aren’t just some kind of sop we use to coddle the weak. Sick days are for *everybody’s* protection, because we don’t want infectious workers spreading disease. It’s not “cool” to work when you’re sick. It’s shortsighted and it puts everybody else at risk.

  • John Wao

    Eat your heart out Cal Ripken Jr.

  • Anonymous

    And as Natamaxx pointed out, it’s not like she’s saving the taxpayers money by not taking her sick days. Many government workers have it written their contracts that they need to be compensated for unused sick leave when they retire.

  • OdinsEye

    This…so much..

    I work for the city , i touch the water pipes entering houses and businesses, what if i just shook it off,and worked with the flu or the “stomach flu” I could infect dozens of people per day. But then again I’m not a horrible person


    I wonder if she was investigated by Mr Glass to see if she was unbreakable.