BRAINTREE (CBS) — A longtime Stop & Shop employee was celebrated in Braintree Friday. Louis San Miguel was honored by Massachusetts lawmakers with a Citation of Service for his service during World War II — and with a birthday cake.
The 95-year-old has been working at the Grove Street Stop & Shop for 21 years.
“Every customer waits to go through Lou’s line it’s unbelievable,” said Store Manager Jim Sarro.
But long before his time at the supermarket, San Miguel was a lead scout with the United States Army 103rd Infantry Division in France, Italy and Germany.
“So every night he would go behind Nazi-enemy lines to scout,” explained State Senator Walter F. Timilty at the ceremony attended by Braintree Mayor Charles Kokoros, and members of the fire and police departments.
“They were very unfriendly,” San Miguel quickly added for a laugh.
“I’m honored and grateful for this moment. Thank you all for being here, I thank you very very much and buy a lot of groceries,” he said.
A birthday cake was also brought out to celebrate San Miguel’s recent birthday. He celebrated surrounded by coworkers, neighbors and friends.
“The United States Armed Forces is used to winning,” said Timilty. “Look around you, this is winning right now.”
Timilty first met San Miguel back in April when Stop & Shop workers were on strike.
“His coworkers, I was struck by how much they cared about him, told me all about his story, how he had been wounded in action and I thought to myself, ‘we’ve got to honor this man,'” he said.
“It’s absolutely incredible, I never expected it, I really didn’t. It’s a wonderful thing, it really is, all veterans should be honored that way,” San Miguel said.
As for why he’s still working so late in life, San Miguel explained: “My father used to always say, ‘If you don’t work, you don’t eat.’ And that stuck in my head. And all my life I’ve wanted to work.”
But he also stays for the customers, who he says are very nice and who he truly loves.