Stop & Shop Throws Retired WWII Veteran and Former Employee Surprise 100th Birthday Party

by Kati Michelle

Benny Ficeto is the name of a special retired New Jersey veteran and former supermarket employee of Stop & Shop. Because of Benny’s service during WWII and his dedication to the local supermarket for over a decade, Stop & Shop wanted to do something special for him. The employer decided to throw Benny a surprise birthday party for his 100th birthday.

Last year, the store arranged for a drive-by car parade for his 99th birthday. This year, the birthday bash took place at the store and Benny arrived at the scene of the surprise by car. The partygoers included his extended family, friends, former coworkers, a trio of singers, and of course cake.

Stop & Shop Makes A Statement to Veterans

Somewhere in the middle of all the birthday festivities, Stop & Shop revealed it had a surprise for Benny and the other veterans in the community. It was then that they revealed the installation of a brand new “Veterans Only” parking spot in Benny’s honor right outside the store’s entrance.

Aptly named “Benny’s Spot,” the store’s spokesperson told Fox the space will provide easier access to the store for veterans while also serving as a reminder of Benny’s hard work within the store and his appreciation within the community.

She also described just how deep the New Jersey town’s love for Benny runs: “People would wait in line even if there was an open register, they would wait because they wanted Benny to bag their groceries.”

Veteran Says Working Gives You Purpose

Benny actually worked at a couple of different Stop & Shop locations over the past couple of decades. He had been at the most recent location for just over 4 years. The town’s residents grew accustomed to seeing the veteran on the registers every day. The truth is, Benny is just as dedicated to the job and the community as the community is to him.

His great-nephew Daniel Reynolds and his girlfriend, Melissa Malley, told Fox that interacting with the community members used to be the highlight of Benny’s days at the store.

His family members also relayed something Benny used to say frequently during his time at Stop & Shop: “Working at my age gives you purpose.” He was so dedicated to the job, in fact, that he rarely took breaks and thought them to be foolish. A true hard worker, through and through.

See the Photos

Fox also shared some photos of the veteran’s birthday celebration, which looked like a blast. Benny looked happy too and the photos show him smiling in his dressy blue plaid paired with a World War II Veteran cap.

Although Benny has moved on from the store, Stop & Shop says “he’s still part of this family and we will continue to celebrate him.” The store says it is already planning a bigger birthday surprise for next year and “every birthday after that.”