A Silver Delivery Man

A silver delivery man, Gwangyeon Kim (69)


Nowadays, it has been a familiar sight on a Korean subway that there are old people, who head somewhere busily with flower baskets or brief cases. They are called the silver delivery men. They are over 65 years old, whose transport is the metropolitan subway for free. This elderly delivery service has become one of rising silver jobs.

Old delivery man, Gwangyeon Kim (69) said, “I do not need to use a smart phone to find a certain place. I do not know well like the young. I would rather go to a real estate office, police office or around town to ask about it. It is one of my secrets when I am working.”

Mr. Kim has been working as a delivery man for four years, and not only for a living, but this job improved the quality of his life. He said that not working made him feel dull and gloomy after retiring from his previous job, so he decided to have another one. At first, he lost 10kg (22lb) for a while due to overwork, but it helped him cope with his chronic diabetes.

He mostly delivers official documents and flower baskets. Once, Mr. Kim delivered a flower basket, which was purchased by a guy for a lady, whom he liked. However, she refused to accept it, and wanted Mr. Kim to throw it away. Mr. Kim didn’t throw it, but gave it to his wife instead. His wife really loved it.

On the other hand, his job has some dark sides as well. Compared to the current Korean minimum wage of 4,800 won per hour ($4.5), his hourly wage is far lower, which is only 3,700 won ($3.4). He is earning an average of 800,000 to 900,000 won a month or $741-$834. Additionally, since he is paid hourly, he often skips his meal or have a quick meal on the subway. He said that he was relatively paid well compared with others.

There are over 200 quick delivery service companies with old staffs mostly working under poor surroundings. It has been pointed out that these unpleasant environments need to be taken seriously by the government to improve the working condition of old workers.

* For the original article in Korean: http://bit.ly/14XwVXy  (by Hyeona Cha)

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02 2013

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  1. 1

    I am at a crossroads when I read of this mans escapades. One one side of my thinking is admiration and respect for someone in the ‘golden years’ of his life to be making such a benefit out of it. On the other my skepticism for these types of things emerges. I have been trained to think that once a human reaches a certain age it is a customary gesture to cease work and relax, possibly volunteer their services and look into the sunset. Ultimately I respect Mr. Kim’s ambition and hope I am just as active in my golden years as well.

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