Every day like clockwork, 87-year-old Don Kittle walks the aisles of the Home Depot in Painted Post.
“[I come] between 11a.m. and 12p.m., stay a couple hours…get my walk in,” said Kittle.
Just weeks away from his next birthday, he uses his time at the store for exercise and to reflect back on nearly 88 years in the Southern Tier.
Kittle has been retired for more than 30 years now but spent decades working for Corning Glass Works.
Now, trips to Home Depot are his full-time job.
“If Don doesn’t come in with a cup of coffee, its kind of a bad day,” said Store Manager Sean Montgomery.
Earlier this year — Montgomery dedicated a bench in the middle of the store to Don Kittle — so when he’s done walking he can take a seat, enjoy his coffee, and feel a sense of community in the middle of the hardware store.
The camaraderie is special for everyone — Kittle is widowed after 50 years of marriage and only one of his eight children lives nearby.
“My family is not down here…his family is not here either so we kinda have that in common,” said Montgomery.
“I treat Don how I would want someone to treat my grandfather if he came into any place of business.”
As for what the future holds for this Home Depot walker…
“Who knows,” said Kittle.
“My knees are kinda giving out.”
But if you visit the Painted Post Home Depot around lunchtime, chances are you’ll find him right there on his bench.