Sid Richardson started working at Goodyear 70 years ago this month in the midst of World War II and the Jim Crow south.
Richardson remembers having to work in seperate areas of the Goodyear plant and use seperate locker rooms from white people. He called it "an ugly time."
What a difference 70 years makes.
This week, to celebrate his longetivity at the company's East Gadsden plant, Richardson was given his own, marked parking spot; a special comemmorative coin from Goodyear's CEO; a proclamation from Governor Robert Bentley, presented to him by State Sen. Phil Williams (R-Rainbow City); a patch with the word "Legend" that appears where his name normally would, on his blue work uniform; and several days of festivities, including a factory-wide cookout.
"This is something I'll never forget, and I know my family won't," Richardson told Fox6 News. "We really enjoyed it."
Richardson's time includes time spent fighting in Europe during World War II as part of the army. He's held four jobs in the plant during his years and in his current capacity, he drives a forklift.
Richardson says besides the long, long-gone segregation policies, other big changes at the plant include the expansions, and ironically fewer workers. He said some 4,000 were employed at what was then the world's largest tire plant when he began working. The plant now employs half of that.
Other changes include the tires: military tires for the war effort in 1943; large whitewalls in the 1950s--he says they were called "gangster tires"; and the modern radial tires that often go on Chrysler automobiles. The biggest change may have been automation.
Richardson is a married father of seven. He says one of the reasons he hasn't retired is because he has no hobbies, so he just heads to the plant for eight hours, five days a week.
"If I ever find out why people retire, then I'm going to retire. But I haven't found out why people retire," he says, "and that's the reason I keep on working."
When we asked him if he loves his job, he surprised us with his answer.
"It's not really that I love the job that much, I love what they're going to give me every week. Besides my wife, she loves that check every week and not once a month."
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