Nashville man works 50 years without taking sick day

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Could you imagine never taking a sick day from work? One Nashville man has gone 50 years without using one.

At 77-years-old Rhea Holt is finally retiring from Autow NationaLease Truck Rental.

“I’ve been here for 50 years,” he told News 2.

The company hired Rhea as a mechanic in March of 1966.

“He’s never missed a day in the history of the company for being sick,” Autow President Lee Harlan said.

Rhea has never called in sick, never had a family emergency and has never just decided to take a day off from work.

The company says 50 years of service equates to more than 14,800 work days.

Rhea told News 2 it’s not that he hasn’t been sick any of those days.

“Well, I’ve been feeling bad a whole lot of times, but I just get up and take off. I love it, sure do. I just love getting up and coming to work,” he said.

He attributes his no-sick day record to a little whiskey and a strong work ethic.

“That’s the way I was raised,” he explained.

He also joked that his wife’s “honey-do” list runs him off every morning.

“Can’t stay at home. I get too many honey do’s,” he said while laughing.

Howard Harlan hired Rhea and has since passed the company down to his son Lee.

“He started here 9 months before I was born,” Lee Harlan explained.

He says his smile, laugh and of course his dependability will never be replaced.

“We will fill that position, but we can’t replace Rhea,” Harlan said.

Rhea said his wife is ready to take on her role as his new boss.

“I hate to leave, but my wife told me I gotta go. I thought Mr. Harlan was my boss, but I believe she is my boss,” he said.

While he’s laughing now, Rhea knows reality will soon set in.

“I’m sure I’m gonna be sad,” he said.

Thursday will be Rhea’s last day with the company and he isn’t the only one that loves his job at Autow.

His colleague, who decided to retire with him, has been with the company for 45 years and has only taken five sick days.

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