By Charlie Finnerty | email@example.com
Artie Jeffries of Jamaica celebrated 30 years working as an elevator operator at Access Self Storage in Long Island City. The longest tenured employee, Jeffries has become a beloved member of the team and a friend to many customers. Access Self Storage staff, some of Jeffries’ most loyal customers and loved ones celebrated the milestone, as well as his 56th birthday, at Bantry Bay Publick House on Nov. 11. At the party, he was also presented the Ken Cooley founders award from Access Self Storage corporate office
“Everybody needs a job,” Jeffries said. “Knowing that you have a job, that you’re making money, that you’re paying your rent — knowing that you have a job behind you — I think that’s a great feeling. It’s a lifesaver, knowing people that don’t have a job are out there struggling every single day trying to make ends meet.”
Soraya Gomez, Artie’s manager at Access Self Storage, said Jeffries is a team player and lifts up everyone else in the workplace.
“He’s reliable, we can always count on him,” Gomez said. “Everyone here gets along with him. It’s like there’s no animosity in him.”
Jeffries said he never expected to hold the job for three decades but focuses everyday on making sure he gets his work done.
“Just trying to keep a job is the biggest challenge. I thought I wouldn’t be here that long. When I first started, I thought I might be gone in three years,” Jeffries said. “I hung in there and they noticed me. I work hard.”
In his time at Access Self Storage, Jeffries said he has seen a lot of other staff come and go but repeat customers, some who have been there even longer than himself, help build a familiar and supportive community at work.
“I’ve seen so many people come and go,” Jeffries said. “We get repeat customers a lot and they help me out a lot. They’re very supportive and we’re very supportive of them. We help each other out. They’re still here, it’s like a miracle.”
Jeffries said he does not take any of his work for granted and tries to be better every day than the day before.
“Even though it’s difficult sometimes, it’s difficult tasks, you manage to work yourself through them. And that’s what I’ve managed to do,” Jeffries said. “For all the years that I’ve been here, I’ve tried to make myself better than I was the last time. More productive, available, communicative, more responsive, more responsibility. Not a lot of people get that chance to actually be at a job that long and say, you know, ‘Hey, I’ve achieved something.’ Even being here ten years is a miracle.”
With support from his job coach Carlos Pino from AHRC New York City, an organization which serves individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, Artie has thrived on the job.
“Artie by himself is a wonderful person. The way he was moving around and smiling at the party, that’s him,” Pino said. “That’s him, he’s always that way. He smiles, never has to complain. Always looking to the bright side.”
Jeffries said his focus is on finding joy in the small things, both in and outside of his work.
“I’m 56 years old. I just try to enjoy life,” Jeffries said. “Like they say, life is short, so you’ve gotta enjoy every moment of it.”