Angelo Fracassa, 86, has worked for the IRS in Detroit for the last 60 years. He recently retired and the Detroit man had the surprise of his life on his last bus ride home from the office of the Internal Revenue Service in downtown Detroit.
While working in the same place for 60 years, Fracassa caught buses to and from work every day, but his final ride home on February 19, after retiring from his job, was the absolute best.
On Friday, when Angelo caught the SMART bus to the home he has shared with his wife Anne and six children, he never expected it to be a different bus this time. When the bus pulled up in front of him, the first clue was the words “Angelo’s Express,” emblazoned on the scrolling sign on the front of the vehicle.
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As reported by the Detroit Free Press, when the Detroit retiree climbed aboard, he found the interior of the bus had been decorated with red, white and blue balloons, along with his photograph, made into posters. On signs and balloons throughout the bus, messages had been written to Angelo Fracassa, including words like “congratulations on your retirement,” and “on to the next adventure.”
Along the way, the bus gradually filled with Fracassa’s family, co-workers and friends, including his daughter, Elena, 51, and his other children, plus their children too.
Carrying more photos of Angelo and more decorated balloons, everyone filed past him where he sat in his usual seat behind the driver. From his face we can see his pleasure, surprise and almost tearful expression as each person congratulated him, kissed the Detroit retiree or rubbed his balding head.
At first, Fracassa said, “Oh, for cryin’ out loud!” but soon settled into the routine, saying a friendly “Hi!” to everyone as they passed by, obviously trying hard to keep his emotions in check.
Another first was when the bus went past Angelo’s normal stop and traveled to Macomb County, where the family and friends on the bus met up with many more of the Detroit retiree’s friends at Roger’s Roost Restaurant.
After the family’s priest said grace, there were speeches and a toast, followed by Angelo’s favorite food.
In the video posted by USA Today, Angelo Fracassa is asked whether he was surprised at what happened to him on his last bus ride home from work and he most certainly was.
“Absolutely. I was triple-whammy surprised. I can’t explain it any better than that. I didn’t have the slightest inkling of what was goin’ on. None…. The whole thing is just rolling over me, man. I tell ya. Hoo!”
Speaking of the Detroit retiree’s emotional expression on the bus, Angelo admitted that he is a soft guy and it was great, but it hit him pretty deep.
The Detroit retiree went on to explain how he caught the bus and the streetcars for 60 years, and when asked why he didn’t get a car, he said, “Uh, well — six kids. My wife, I left the car home for her. She needed it, you know? Really. And then again, after awhile, I wasn’t out in the field any more. I was downtown all the time. And, you know, sedentary job, so that’s all I did. Go downtown and come back.”
Angelo reportedly loved his job at the IRS, even though things kept changing. The Detroit retiree holds a Master’s degree in accounting, and people always said he could make more money elsewhere, but he said, “Yeah, but I can’t get the benefits that I get for IRS.”
He enjoyed his job so much, he didn’t want to retire at the age of 65 years. He said he was involved in bringing the original electronic equipment, computers etc. into the office and that he got very familiar with the equipment and knew what was going on.
The Detroit retiree then gave some advice to youngsters of today, telling them if you like your job and you are doing it well, why leave?
“I liked it and never had too many problems with it. I was able always to help all the folks around the building. So, I stayed.”
Angelo was asked what he is planning to do next and he said for a while, absolutely nothing. But they are planning on a trip to Italy in May for the whole family.
“The whole family is going to go. We’ve rented two villas. One is near Pisa. And the other one is down further in Italy. We have the whole villa to ourselves. So, we can cook there, we can do everything we want there…. I got enough saved up that we can do it. We’re gonna do it.”
[Photo via video on USA Today]