SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. — For a man in Florida, the move from teaching to shopping not only changed his life but also his bank account and he’s now making six figures.
“It’s kind of emotional. I’m trying to fight back tears because it was the best time of my life,” Ed Hennessey told WESH as he visited his old classroom for the first time in a year.
It’s where he spent 20 years of his life, teaching thousands of kids at Oviedo High School.
He said he was living his dream — other than the money. As a teacher, Hennessey said he never earned more than $50,000. He said he struggled to make ends meet with two kids and his old college loans.
That’s why he always worked another job, too, like at Blockbuster, Old Navy, Target, Uber and then Shipt.
Hennessey became a shopper for Shipt part time in 2015, developed a fan base and two years later, realized he could make some real money, which made him reflect on his time in the classroom.
“I don’t think there is a way to turn it around unless you’re going to offer more money,” he said.
So in 2017, he made a bold life-changing decision: He took a year sabbatical from teaching to shop full time.
And now, he makes more than $100,000 a year — delivering groceries. That’s right, he doubled his teaching salary. So at 45-years-old, he officially retired from his passion last month.
“Leaving education is one of the scariest things and very sad,” he said.
So these days, Hennessey spends his time in his car and scouring the aisles of supermarkets. Every day he picks up groceries and delivers them to families in Seminole County, Florida.
Hennessey said life is different now. He works when he wants, mostly 50-60 hours per week, and he no longer gets summers off.
But instead of grading tests and making lesson plans at home, he’s glued to his home, his lifeline, which he said he doesn’t even mind.
“It’s so relaxing. I get to go out, and I’m outside all the time. I see people, and I’m my own boss. I am who I want to be,” he said.