Freddy Ross is the (now infamous) elevator operator working at the office building of 920 N. Franklin, aka the home of BatesMeron. Not only is Freddy a familiar face to all who work in our building, he is a good friend of BatesMeron!
I interviewed Freddy as part of our 6 Questions feature: a series of one-on-one interviews with people we work with who’ve made us proud. In addition to speaking with our clients to see how they’re rocking their brands, I also like to put friends of BMSD on the hot seat so you can learn about the people who make our workday more enjoyable, and in this case, who welcomes us every morning with a big smile and grand story!
Read on to learn about Freddy’s past life as an army sergeant, where his favorite travel spot is and how he became an elevator operator.
1. How long have you been working as an elevator operator?
I’ve been working as an elevator operator for 34 years, and all of them were spent here at this building and the one next door. I was in the army for 30 years and then retired in 1975. Soon after, I was living home and my youngest daughter was working at this building, which used to be a factory. She told me they were making renovations and needed an elevator operator. And that’s how I started working here.
I’ve also kept a book at home full of stories from what I’ve seen since I’ve started here. I could tell you everything about everyone who’s ever worked here! Who moved, got married, got fired, got fat. I’ve got a big directory at home.
2. Tell me about your time in the army?
Well, when I served in the army I was known for being real tough. If anybody saw me, they were glad when I left. But then again, I never told them when I was gonna leave, so they were always scared! In the army I was a first sergeant. And in France, I was the operations sergeant that’d take the troops out and train them. I remember this one time a young guy came in with a beard and I asked him, “What is this you’ve got on your face?” We weren’t allowed to have facial hair, so I took a piece of broken glass and scraped it off. I was in charge of the 3rd Platoon, which was about 80 guys. And in 1945 to 1947, I traveled overseas to France, Japan and Korea.
3. What was the first job you ever had?
My first job was in Memphis, Tennessee, where I was born and raised. When I was in my teens I worked at a local grocery store. I used to ride a bicycle and deliver groceries house to house. I would have bags on the front, back and side and go back and forth making stops. I think I made about $12 a week.
4. What are some of your hobbies or favorite things to do?
One of my favorite hobbies is to travel. I used to travel a lot in the early 90s. In fact, I have a book I keep with me full of all the places I’ve traveled to. Back in April of 1991, I took at 14-day tour all over Europe. I went to Paris, Berlin, Brussels, Frankfurt and Zurich. Then that following May I went on a 10-day trip to Hawaii, followed by 10 days in New York. But I have to say, my favorite place to travel to is Las Vegas. I don’t gamble much. Just the slot machines.
5. You’ve been to a lot of places. Who did you do all this traveling with?
I used to do a lot of my traveling with the people from American Airlines. They used to be in the building connected to us. They took up the whole 8th Floor. And when we’d travel, we used to take a private jet! I also used to take trips with the owner of Kiki’s, the restaurant a few doors down. He’s been working there for as long as I’ve been here—so we’ve been friends for a long time. But now, I don’t travel as much. I guess I’ve got my wings clipped.
6. Having many years of wisdom to share, what advice would you give younger generations?
To get more money. I used to work on a farm in Tennessee picking and cutting cotton, and I only got paid 50 cents a day! I’d work 12 hours a day, 7 days a week and not make a lot of money. So my advice to you would be to work hard, get a raise and make good money!
As you can tell, Freddy is a very interesting guy with a lot to say! Next time you’re in the area or visiting BatesMeron, be sure to stop by the elevator to see Freddy!
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