Grandpas, Lolas ‘young again’ with SM jobs-A A +A
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
CITY OF SAN FERNANDO -- Don’t be surprised now if an elder greets you in Spanish, French, Arabic, Korean and English as you walk in at SM City Clark. Or grandpa shakes your hand upon entering SM City San Fernando Downtown. And then there’s Lola who you will guide you the best seat in SM City Pampanga’s cinemas or assist the family at the foodcourt.
Yes, senior citizens now have such light weekend jobs at the three SM Malls under the first ever employment program under SM Cares.
“I believe that SM is the first with this program that gives us senior citizens the opportunity to be employed again. Masayang-masaya kami at enjoy kami sa trabaho kahit four hours on weekends lang. Malaking tulong sa amin ito,” said former OFW Alfredo Dueñas, 63, who is a “greeter” at SM City Clark.
At the expanding mall's foodcourt, retired customer service assistant Josefina Padilla, 63, another of the 10 elders there, assists kids and their parents as they make their way through stalls and shops.
“This job given me by SM City is the best experience of my life. SM has given us to feel that we are still useful and capable of serving people. You could see the respect from them and the surprise in the faces of foreign visitors and shoppers who ask us to join them for photographs. It is really a great experience!” she said.
Over at SM City Pampanga, Sally Dueñas, 60; Delia Adawag, 61; and Anita Flores,62, all confess that their SM jobs are their “firsts.”
“We never really realized that at our age, with many grandchildren, could still be employed and become useful until SM employed us after passing the physical and medical tests. The three of us, all from San Jose, were vendors and dressmakers with shops at home. These are our first jobs, would you believe? Dito, kahit weekend lang, enjoy na enjoy kami, excited, nawawala ang stress, maraming nakikilalang tao and best of all, keni lagu-lagu kami," the three elderly shared laughingly.
“We wish they could extend our six-month contracts,” they added.
Life is never really lonely for the couple Isidro and Flordeliza Arugay, 63 and 60 years old, respectively, as they work as greeters at SM City San Fernando Downtown.
“We get the chance again to dress up and spend more time together in our work at SM. Sabi nga ng mga apo namin, look at lolo, oh. Guwapo na naman. At sila lola, sexy! True, instead of just staying at home and waiting for our retirement pay as Bureau of Fire Protection employees before, dito nalilibang na kami, kumikita pa. At malaking tulong sa aming mga apo ito,” the Arugay couple quipped.
And for Crisencia Cabebe, 62, coming home to the Philippines and finding a job here after a long stint as an accountant in Singapore has never been so good.
“What SM Malls is doing for us retirees and senior citizens is really unique. It’s like what they do in Singapore where they continuously give opportunities to elders basta kaya pa. We are so grateful to SM for the experience and making us feel young again,” she said.
Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on October 23, 2013.