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Still riding at 100

In honor of her 100th birthday, Friendly Rider offers loyal customer Florence Christiansen a free bus ride to lunch at Behlianno's Take N' Bake, where co-owner George Behl, who's also the transit manager, picked up the bill. 1 / 2
After Friendly Rider driver LeRoy Rentz helps her off the bus, Florence Christiansen walks toward Behlianno's Take N' Bake, where she, her son Larry Lehman (right), Rentz and transit manager George Behl at lunch to celebrate Christiansen's 100th birthday.2 / 2

Florence Christiansen was born in Todd County just a few months after World War I began. One hundred years later, she lives at Humphrey Manor. She still cooks most of her own meals and ventures out on the town for appointments or shopping a couple times a week on Friendly Rider buses.

On Monday morning, the day before her 100th birthday, driver LeRoy Rentz showed up at the housing complex and offered Christiansen and her son a free ride to lunch at Behlianno's Take N' Bake, where co-owner George Behl, who's also the Friendly Rider transit manager, picked up the tab.

"Was I ever (surprised)," a smiling Christiansen said after Rentz helped her aboard the bus. Her son Larry Lehman kept the occasion a secret, only letting his mother know she had to be in the Humphrey Manor lobby at 11 a.m.

On the way to the facility, Rentz said he's impressed by Christiansen's sharp mind and enjoyable personality.

"If I can live to 100, I can only hope I'll be as pleasant as she is," said the 68-year-old Rentz. "We enjoy having her on the bus."

Before ordering lunch, Christiansen talked about her life, from growing up in Eagle Bend to moving to Wadena in 1974 and eventually moving to Humphrey Manor after becoming widowed a second time. She recalled specific events, dates and places with ease.

"She's got a remarkable mind for 100 years old," Lehman noted.

What's her secret to longevity?

"I don't know myself," Christiansen said with a chuckle.

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