Melba Mebane, a remarkable 90-year-old woman from Texas, recently retired after an astonishing 74-year career at Dillard’s department store. What makes her story even more remarkable is that she never missed a single day of work or called in sick during her time at the company.

From Elevator Girl to Salesperson Extraordinaire

Melba’s journey began in 1949 when she started working as an elevator girl at Mayer & Schmidt department store in Tyler, Texas. Through dedication and hard work, she caught the attention of her supervisors and was soon promoted to the men’s clothing department.

A Single Mother’s Triumph

As a single mother, Melba’s determination and resilience shone through as she balanced her career and raising her son Terry. From the men’s clothing department, she transitioned to cosmetics, where she would spend the rest of her career.

Going Above and Beyond

Melba’s commitment to her job went beyond the ordinary. When faced with the challenge of selling gift baskets to customers, she took matters into her own hands. Melba ventured out from behind the counter and engaged with people on the sales floor. Her passion and persuasive skills allowed her to sell every single basket.

Recognizing her exceptional sales talent, manufacturers began sending her products like bottles of perfume to promote. Melba’s generosity shined here too, as she loved giving away samples to friends and even her pastor affectionately called her the “cosmetic bootlegger.”

The Heart of the Store

Throughout her illustrious career, colleagues, managers, and even the Dillard family themselves recognized Melba’s invaluable contributions. Her son Terry shared how she was considered the heart of the store and a beacon of exceptional customer service.

Celebrating Melba’s Legacy

When Melba finally decided to retire due to health issues, her colleagues organized a retirement party in her honor. During the event, heartfelt speeches were given, leaving Melba in tears. Drue Methany, Vice President of Dillard’s, expressed admiration for Melba’s selfless service to the community and her incredible rapport with customers.

Melba’s friendship with Mr. and Mrs. Dillard was evident as well. They exempted her from working on Sundays and night shifts during her older years, emphasizing their deep appreciation for her dedication.

Dillard’s store manager James Saez expressed how Melba not only coached and inspired countless employees but also set the standard for exceptional customer service at the store. To commemorate her remarkable career, Melba received a prestigious “Beyond Excellence” award and a plaque featuring her photo now hangs proudly on the store’s wall.

A Fond Farewell

Ginger Wimbs, a coworker and friend of Melba’s for 33 years, lovingly remembered her as a caring and giving person. Melba’s sales ability was admired, but it was her genuine friendship that would be truly missed. Even in her older years, Melba worked tirelessly, putting in 40 hours a week. Her determination was unwavering, and her son Terry fondly reminisced about driving her to and from work during harsh weather conditions.

An Inspiration to All

The story of Melba Mebane touched the hearts of many online users, who praised her as an inspiration and a role model for young people. Despite the commendations, some empathized with her for never having had enough time for herself during her 74-year tenure. While Melba understood their perspective, she had no regrets. She truly loved her work and advised others starting out in business to approach it with dedication, seeing it not merely as a paycheck but as an opportunity to make a positive impact. She encouraged them to embrace the place where life had planted them and give it their all.

Melba Mebane’s 74-year career at Dillard’s exemplifies true dedication, resilience, and a passion for service. Her story serves as a reminder to us all that no matter our age, a fulfilling and meaningful career is always within reach.