Friday, February 20, 2009

90-Year Old California Man Who Lost Over $700,000 in Retirement Savings to Scam-Artist Bernie Maddoff Goes Back to Work -- At A Grocery Store

90-year old Ian Thiermann, who lost $738,000 in the $50 billion financial swindle conducted by Wall Street financier Bernie Maddoff, at work in his new job at the Ben Lomond Market supermarket in Ben Lomond, California. [Photo: KPIX TV, Channel 5.].

Sign of the times: It's a good thing grocers are still hiring

Ian Thiermann, a 90-year old retired businessman from Ben Lomond, California, a small town near the city of Santa Cruz on Northern California's coast, says he lost his entire life savings, $738,000, to the Wall Street financier and Ponzi Scheme crook Bernard Maddoff. The $738,000 was what Mr. Thiermann had saved and invested throughout his working life for his retirement.

As a result of losing it all, Ian Theirmann decided the only think he could do was to return to work at age 90, he told San Francisco-based KPIX, Channel 5 television for a recent report the station did about the Ben Lomond resident.

However, with the current job availability situation so poor, along with the fact he is 90-years of age, Ian Thiermann wasn't completely confident he could find a job in the small, coastal Northern California city where he lives.

But a local independent grocer, Ben Lomond Market, heard about Mr. Thiermann's plight and offered him a 30 hour a week job at $10 an hour as the store customer greeter, a position they created especially for the energetic and sociable 90-year old.

"This is not a woe is me kind of man. This is a community coming together and helping each other out in times of need," Barbara Loffer of Ben Lomond Market told KPIX.

In explaining his plight and decision to return to the work force as the official customer greeter at Ben Lomond Market, Ian Thiermann told KPIX reporter Kiet Do: "You meet a situation like this, what are you gonna do, fold up? Instead of crying, yelling or being mad about it, face it and move on."

That simple sentence and overall attitude from Mr. Thiermann, a man who at age 90 lost every cent he had saved throughout his working life and as a result did what he had to, which is to go back at work, is something we should all keep in mind as we struggle in the current bad economy.

Times are tough without a doubt -- but like Ian Thiermann, who was born in 1919 and has lived through wars and the Great Depression -- and survived -- says: "You meet a situation like this, what are you gonna do, fold up? Instead of crying, yelling or being mad about it, face it and move on."

That's a motto, and attitude, we all should follow. It's also the attitude that will get the country out of the current economic recession and malaise.

[You can read the report from KPIX Channel 5 here.]

[You can view video of Ian Thiermann at the Ben Lomond Market at the link below:]

Fresh & Easy Buzz offers a major tip of the hat to the owners of the Ben Lomond Market for coming up with the job for Mr. Thiermann after hearing of his situation.

The grocer's doing so demonstrates what we often say about America's independent grocers -- that they survive and thrive in the U.S. food and grocery retailing sector in large part because they focus on being an integral part of the communities where they operate their stores. They focus on the local -- local customers, products and issues. Ben Lomond Market, in hiring Ian Thiermann demonstrates that independent grocer spirit in spades.

The grocer also demonstrates that the community focus we describe extends far beyond only selling groceries.

We wish Mr. Thiermann all the best in his new job. And we think he will be a great asset to the market, its owners, and its customers.


Anonymous said...

this guy is a role model for how to handle tough moments in your life, I wish I had this attitude

Anonymous said...

I live about 30 minutes from Ben Lomond in Santa Cruz County. I shop more locally but will now make it a point to get over there and shop at the Ben Lomond Market at least once every 2-3 weeks to support what they did by hiring this man. Good job!

Anonymous said...

As long as all the folks invested with Maddoff kept receiving their always above average investment returns they never questioned the mysterious investment guru. Some of the most sophisticated investors in the world got ripped off by Bernie. It's now coming out that he used very simple and very criminal means to survive for so many years, like never investing any of the money. Pure Ponzi. Amazing. Got to be some SEC payoffs involved. And the only guy who could get Bernie, the Sheriff of Wall Street Elliot Spitzer got nailed for having a prostitute. Good timing for Bernie and Wall Street on that one. Next up, Mr. Stanford. The big names are coming out on that one today.