No Sick Day In 60 Years, No Retirement For Oakland Hospital Worker

OAKLAND (KCBS) – Meet Elena Griffing. You could call her a loyal member of the Alta Bates Summit Medical Center staff in Oakland. How loyal? She started working at the hospital when Harry Truman was in the White House. And she hasn’t stopped working since.

Making her 65-year tenure even more remarkable – she hasn’t taken a single sick day in nearly 60 years.

KCBS’ Mark Seelig Reports:

She was hired in 1946, at the age of 20. Gasoline was 21-cents per gallon and Alta Bates, for whom the hospital was named, was one of the head nurses.

Monday afternoon at the Alta Bates Berkeley campus auditorium, the hospital paid tribute to Griffing, 85, celebrating her six-and-a-half decades on the job as an office and administrative assistant.

“She’s an inspiration to all of us,” declared Alta Bates CEO David Bradley. “She wants to work five more years and then go part-time.”

Does that mean retirement is on the horizon?

“Not even in my vocabulary,” she scoffed.

“I go to bed at 1 o’clock and I’m up at 6, seven days a week,” she described her routine. “I don’t want to waste time sleeping.”

Equally impressive is the fact that she has gone so many decades without calling in sick. What’s her secret? Clean living and a passion for helping others.

“You’ve got to do the best you can do every day. Because you never can get into trouble that way,” she reasoned.

“I have a marvelous time, I love it. This is my hospital.”

100 or so hospital employees took part in Monday’s celebration, held in the medical center’s auditorium. A Frank Sinatra impersonator was even brought in to serenade Griffing, who is “mildly obsessed” with the legendary crooner.

The celebration, like her life, was described as a lot of fun.

“It’s no fun if you don’t jump in with both feet and just get a hoot out of everything,” she declared. “And that’s the way I am, I just have the best time.”

(© 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

Comments

One Comment

  1. Shawn Stone says:

    That is awesome. I believe in doing your best every day. It makes the day more joyous. I give kudos to Elena Griffing.

  2. mary says:

    I worked with Elana for about 10 years ( altho in another dept ) .
    One of the challenges was getting her to give up the typewriter as no one else had one and parts & service were scarce .

    She was a dynamo tho , still running around in high heels just 5 years ago .

    Congratulations on 65 years at Altered States Elena ! !

  3. hugo poppernuts says:

    amazing.. keep working I say unlike me who wants to retire ASAP and perhaps die of boredom, in the end it all really doesn’t matter as this Earth will perish in 5 billion years after colliding with the andromeda galaxy and nothing that has occured here will even matter.

    1. KevC says:

      Actually if you want to be more specific, all current Earth life will die out in about 1.5B years when the sun turns into a red giant, allowing our atmosphere to escape into space, thus destroying all life and creating a mars-like planet on Earth🙂

  4. HooDatIS? says:

    WELL HAULEJAH ANYHOW, U KNOW GOD SURE HAS A WAY OF USING PEOPLE TO MAKE HIS GLORY SHINE! GIRL GRANNNY! DONT U SLOW DOWN EITHER….LETS LIVE GOOD TOGETHER LIKE MS GRIFFING TIME OUT FOR THIS NONSENSE…CLEAN LIVING IS THE KEY
    GOD BLESS HER SOUL
    VISIT MY BLOG
    http://ethicalfutures.wordpress.com/2011/04/23/mcdonalds-beatdown-in-baltimore/

  5. union slackers unite says:

    Must not be a union shop over there at Alta Bates.

  6. kanny says:

    wonderful, I wish my body is as strong as hers. I’d be happy working than sick.

  7. Spartacus Levine says:

    While it is certainly impressive to see someone working for 60 years without a sick day, I find it very depressing as an example. Does this person have a life outside the hospital? What kind of example is she setting. It reminds me of people who got the Hero of the Soviet Union prize for maximizing their quota in a single year. The next year, because they couldn’t maximize the next quota that was dramatically increased due to their past record, they got shot.

    1. MED says:

      I somehow think “no sick day” does not mean “no holidays” or “no vacation”.

      In any case, hats off to Ms. Griffing from me!

    2. union slackers unite says:

      yeah…what a horrible example she is setting for our youth. I mean, geesh, she earned the sick time she should use every minute of it! A good work ethic is destroying our country.

  8. ANITA says:

    i WORKED WITH MRS. GRIFFING FROM 2005-2008. SHE’S THE NICEST, MOST BEAUTIFUL PERSON INSIDE AND OUTSIDE. I HOPE TO BE ABLE TO GET AROUND AT THAT AGE AS WELL AS SHE DOES.

    YOU GO MRS. GRIFFING!

  9. average guy says:

    any family? kids? husband? hobbies? garden? friends?

  10. Maresa says:

    Congratulations! Your dedication and hard work are very inspiring. I hope for you to enjoy every single cent of your retirement.

  11. Mary says:

    You fail to tell us how many times she came to work when she was actually ill, only to “infect” other employees …. as a nurse (36 years) I know this to be the case quite often.

  12. JoAnn says:

    perhaps you didn’t read closely that she goes to be at 1am and gets up at 6am, she’s got plenty of hours after or before work–lots to do with the rest of her life–they were celebrating her joy of working at someplace special to her for 65 years, can anyone give a wonderful woman some cheers, not jeers. Just because you don’t love your job like she does. Clearly she love LIFE! We should all be so lucky.

  13. JaneQPublic says:

    Omigosh! This woman was working at Alta Bates Hospital when my sister was born there 64 years ago! Wahoo – way to go!!! Kudos to a TRULY INSPIRING WOMAN!!

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More From CBS San Francisco

Get The New CBS SF Bay Area Local App
Got Our Weather App?

Listen Live