You have a long career in the automotive business behind you. How did you start?
My older sister worked at a car dealership and I went there on a regular basis after school hours. I liked that company, a lot happened there. So I decided to start an education as a technician. I have been working among others at a Citroen and a BMW dealership before I started at Hessing in 1973. At that time the company had conventional brands such as Opel (Vauxhall), BMW and Mercedes beside the American cars which had to get modified to Dutch regulations.
And have you always been a technician?
I have had several positions. For some time I settled the claims and also worked at the workshop reception. But the most I enjoyed working as a teacher in the workshop. I organized a learning experience in the workshop for students who wished to become a technician. We used a separate part of the workshop. The students came to us for their internship and on Fridays they went to school. It was fun to share knowledge with them and to see them succeed.
Have you ever considered to stop working when you reached your retirement age?
No, not really. I retired on a Friday and on the following Monday I started a new job. I got a contract for 40 hours per month instead of per week. Nowadays I work at Louwman Exclusive as a driver, particularly for the distribution of parts. We supply these to repair shops and other specialists. I also look after the dirty washing to be delivered at the laundry. In particular at the polish department; they use a lot of towels and so forth. In the warehouse there is a sign hanging on the wall on which all the tasks are written and based on that I plan my route for the day. I still enjoy driving through the whole country. I like to be on the move, alone with the car radio switched on.
And what are you doing with your spare time?
I would never be bored without my work, because I have many hobbies. I invest a lot of time into my large garden allotment. It is more a decorative garden than a vegetable garden with many fruit trees. From apples and pears to peaches and grapes. At the garden I also run a small shop in fertilizers, potting soil and so on. And once a month, together with a group of volunteers, we maintain the communal garden such as the paths and the hedges. When I am not working I am busy with electronics. I have taken an interest in solar cells and have installed some on the stone building in the decorative garden.
Do you ever think about retiring for real?
As long as I am feeling well I keep on working. At least till my 80th birthday!
Driver / Employed since: 2012 / Age: 78 / Children: 2 / What keeps him busy besides work: Ben has a beautiful decorative garden where he also grows fruit trees.