Greeter at southern Colorado Wal-Mart is 100
The Pueblo Chieftain
TRINIDAD, Colorado ” She is as familiar as the yellow, happy faces, the blue vests and the “rollback” prices.
People who shop at Wal-Mart in Trinidad have no doubt seen Lucy Villani at the store. But unlike most greeters at the world’s largest retailer, Villani has lived to see 18 U.S. presidents and has nearly a century’s worth of memories.
Villani, who turned 100 on Wednesday, holds down two part-time jobs working as a door greeter at Wal-Mart and as a clerk at her daughter’s downtown antique shop, Francesca’s.
Villani has been a door greeter since 1998, working about 15 to 20 hours a week. Wal-Mart has no age restrictions for employees, and greeters tend to be senior citizens ” just not quite as senior as Villani.
“I enjoy working two jobs. There’s no other reason why I am still working. I just like it,” Villani said.
Villani still drives to work and lives alone.
When asked her secret to living such a long life, she said with a laugh, “If I knew that, I would just be telling everybody.”
Villani was born in Tercio, a former mining camp west of Trinidad, and moved to Trinidad with her coal-miner father, Pietro Antonelli, and her mother, Christine, in 1929. She has three siblings, including a brother who is 95 and a sister who is 93. Another sister died a year ago at the age of 97.
“She has good genes. That’s why she has had such a long and wonderful life,” said her daughter, Fran Villani.
Villani said she has been fascinated with the changes that have occurred over the years.
“The amount of money that people are now able to make is very different. I worked during the Depression and we had no money. I worked and worked and finally the salaries became better,” she said.
Villani grew up without a television or a house phone. Today, she said, she carries a cell phone in her pocket.
“I think that these phones are wonderful. To think that you can talk to someone from almost anywhere,” she said.
Villani previously worked 40 years for the Montgomery Ward store on Main Street and 17 years for nearby Teri’s Hallmark and Floral.
“She also worked at a Woolworth’s in Denver for a while,” her daughter said. “She has been in front of the public for a long, long time.”
Fran Villani said her mother enjoys interacting with people.
“She is so much a people person that if you ask her the date of something, she won’t remember it as much. She will be able to tell you who the people are, who they married, how many children they have and what happen to those children,” Fran Villani said.
“She has a lot of faith in God and she never looks back. She is always very forward looking. She is willing to accept people for who they are,” she added. “I think that is why she has lived so long. That takes a lot of stress off of someone’s life, when they don’t have to think negative.”
Villani said she loves Trinidad and its people and would never think about moving anywhere else.
She added she wants to be an example to other seniors that someone her age who still wants to work and be active can do it.