OXFORD, Mass. (WBZ) – With a pencil over his ear, and an infectiously cheerful chuckle, you can find Bill Van Nieuwenhuyze at Oxford’s Home Depot.
“Having a good time at it,” he happily exclaims.
Newly 90, he’s spent the last decade scanning inventory, stocking shelves, and most importantly, supporting customers.
“Customer service is big. That’s the only way they’re going to keep coming back,” Bill explained.
One of Bill’s favorite parts of the job is leading the store’s monthly children’s workshops. He teaches kids of all ages and abilities how to use tools as they work on a project. Some of his most rewarding workshops have involved catering to the unique needs and gifts of children who live with intellectual disabilities.
Bill says Van Nieuwenhuyze means “of the new house.” Fitting, working in the home improvement business. He’s an honest salesman and he’s punctual punching the clock.
“I get here early every day. I’m always here 7 o’clock. I don’t start ’til 8. I sit and do crossword puzzles,” Bill says, of his Friday-Sunday shifts.
Bill had to take about a year off during the pandemic for safety. It was also during that time he lost his wife. Being fully vaccinated brought some of the light back to his life – a long awaited return to the aisles he loves.
“I have to do something,” he said. “I have to keep working. I love it.”
And Home Depot loves him back – especially “Bill’s Angels.” Three young employees have become close friends and mentees.
“Doesn’t get better than him,” Michaela said.
“He’s everyone’s biggest supporter. He’s an amazing guy,” Nicole added.
With no signs of slowing down, Bill is proof there’s no age limit on valuable workers.
“It can happen. There are jobs. People have a lot of skills, that retire. They can be used,” Bill said.
Nor is there a limit on boys and their toys.
“This is the best part. This is the best part!” he says, laughing.