DUNDALK — Bethlehem Steel alumna Ada Mullins has a sweet smile, great hair and a good job. The senior works at Freedom Drug, and has no plans on quitting anytime soon.
This would be unremarkable, but Mullins turned 90 years old last week.
Born in Virginia, Mullins moved to Dundalk in the 1950s with both her first husband and her cousin. Over the last 67 years, Mullins says Dundalk has changed quite a bit.
“It has built up so much since I moved here in the 1950s,” she said. Once in Maryland, Mullins worked in the tin mill at Bethlehem Steel for 13 years.
“It was hard work for women back in those days,” Brenda Shultz, Mullins’s manager at Freedom Drug said.
The 90-years-young beauty described working at Bethlehem Steel as “okay” and said she worked at a few local businesses before settling at Freedom Drug.
“I like it here,” Mullins explained. “I love my customers and I love the people I work with.”
“She keeps us in shape,” Schultz explained. “She can do more than the rest of us. If one of the young ones can’t do a job, I’ll get Ms. Ada to do it! “She’s our queen. She’s the queen of our store. She’s been so inspiring to all of us. She is never late, always here on time and never misses a day. I know I have Ms. Ada to count on.”
“I always thought that if you got a job, you work at it. If you can’t work, you quit and let somebody else work,” Mullins said.
Mullins loves to interact with customers, and they love her back.
“We catch her in the aisle and she talks to everyone who walks through the door,” Schultz said. “She is such a wonderful greeter because she knows everybody.”
If Mullins misses a day, customers always ask where she is.
“I love people, and we have great customers,” Mullins said.
While at work, the 90 year-old minds the greeting card section, dusts and organizes the entire store and puts orders away.
“Sometimes I feel guilty because she works so hard,” Schultz said. “She knows that the owner will allow her to do whatever she feels like doing that day. If she doesn’t feel like doing anything she doesn’t have to.”
Although Mullins has been working at Freedom Drug for almost 20 years, she doesn’t want to retire until it’s really time. The superstar senior still drives and gets her nails and hair done every two weeks. A mother of two, she also has two grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
Schultz, who drives down from Pennsylvania to work says that her and Mullins made a deal to leave Freedom Drug at the same time.
“There’s nobody that will force her out the door. She will be here with us until the end. Until it’s her decision,” Freedom Drug owner Raj Brahamanapalli said.
“I believe that you can’t let yourself go,” she said. “Keep on. Do the best you can with what you’ve got. You’ve got to learn to take care of yourself and others.”