After 51 Years at Same Company, Worker's Job Eliminated - 8 News NOW

After 51 Years at Same Company, Worker's Job Eliminated

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Lois Tafoya took a job at J.C. Penney's 51 years ago, and never quit. Lois Tafoya took a job at J.C. Penney's 51 years ago, and never quit.

LAS VEGAS -- In a weak economy, it's tough enough to find a job, but a Las Vegas woman managed to hold onto hers for more than 50 years.

Lois Tafoya was not only able to hold on to her job for 51 years, she did it at a sole company: J.C. Penney Co.

Tafoya, now 72, got quite a send off for her last day.

Her husband, Joe, jokes that J.C. Penney was his wife's first love, and he was her second.

"Fifty-one years with Penney, 47 with me," Joe Tafoya said. "It's not bad."

Fifty-one years at one job may seem like a feat in itself, but what makes her story even more impressive was that it almost never happened.

"It was a lot of discrimination and it was really rough," Lois Tafoya said.

As a Hispanic woman, Tafoya said employers back in the 1960s were quick to shut the door.

"They would make an excuse," she said. "You could tell, because they saw who I was and they didn't want me."

A manager at a J.C. Penney store in Los Angeles, though, took a chance and hired her as a saleswoman. She worked long hours and moved to three stores, ending up in Las Vegas where she became head cashier, all the while raising three children.

"She was so confident in everything that she did," daughter Tina Tafoya said. "It was very inspiring."

It was at the J.C. Penney store at the Meadows Mall nine years ago that Lois Tafoya learned of another obstacle that could have easily ended her run at the company: stage 3 breast cancer. could keep her away."

"Sitting here at home, you just mope and think about crazy things," she said. "I needed to go back to work, so I did."

She stayed with J.C. Penney until last Friday, when her position was eliminated, but like everything else in life, Tafoya took the news in stride.

"Maybe it's for the best, you know?" she said. "Good things come out of everything, so that's the way I looked at it."

A trailblazer and a survivor, Lois Tafoya, who has been free of cancer since 2005, said she can't wait for what comes next.

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