In awe of the perfect employee

   After years of searching, my quest is complete. I have found the perfect employee.
   Actually, my general manager, Ralph, found her. He burst into my office about four weeks ago obviously overwhelmed by the magnitude of his discovery.
   "You’re not going to believe me," he said, catching his breath. "But I think I’ve just hired the perfect employee."
   "Who is she?" I gasped. "Where did you find her? Is she human?"
   "She’s perfectly normal," replied Ralph. "Her name is Mitsuko."
   I suddenly remembered Ralph had been looking for someone who could carry a conversation with some of the Japanese customers who shop in our retail stores. So I went out on a limb and asked Ralph if Mitsuko could speak Japanese.
  "Obviously," he said. "But that’s not what makes her the perfect employee."
   "Obviously," I said. "What does?"
   "It’s because she’s only been in the United States a few months with her new husband. She can hardly speak any English."
   "That makes her a perfect employee?" I asked, incredulous.
   "No. She wants to learn English. When I offered her the job she practically jumped up and down with excitement and gratitude because she would be able to practice her English with our other customers."
   I still didn’t understand. "I like that ‘excitement and gratitude’ part, but that doesn’t make her the perfect employee."
   "No," Ralph continued, "but this next part does. When I told her the starting wage, you know what her response was?"
   I shrugged.
   "She didn’t understand."
   "Why the wage was so low?"
   "No," Ralph replied. "Why we would want to pay her for learning English."
   "Yippee yi yo kayay," I shouted.
   "You’ve done it, Ralph. You’ve found a candidate for the perfect employee."
   "A candidate?"
   "Well, the jury is still out. Let’s see what happens once she starts working."
   She started the next day on a part-time schedule. After a couple of shifts, I called Ralph for an update.
   "Great," said Ralph. "Perfect. No problems. Excellent with the Japanese customers."
   I wasn’t convinced. Things looked good, but the big test to see if she was indeed the perfect employee would be coming up soon – Payday.
   When the big day came, the checks were printed and put in envelopes to be picked up by employees waiting eagerly at the door.
   But no Mitsuko. As I was leaving at the end of the day, I happily glanced at the lone remaining envelope yet to be picked up – Mitsuko’s.
   Two more days went by. Mitsuko passed the office many times, never bothering to stop and collect her check. I asked Ralph if she knew it was there.
   "I’ve told her three times," he said. "But she doesn’t seem to care. The perfect employee?"
   I was admittedly impressed but still not convinced. "Let’s give it a week".
   We not only gave it a week, we gave it two weeks – the paycheck never left its nest. And Mitsuko, never late, never complaining, always cheery, was about to be crowned the perfect employee.
   But there was a problem. Her English was improving rapidly. She might quit (or want to be paid) if she got too good.
   As a seasoned executive, I knew just what to do. "Hello, Mitsuko," I said, seeing her pass the office doorway. "I hep you er haqing neece dye."
   "Pardon me," she replied.
   "I sayed, ‘I hep you er haquing neece dye.’"
   Poor Mitsuko couldn’t understand a word I was saying. A little annoyed, I gave her some hand signals and off she went, perhaps realizing her English comprehension wasn’t quite up to par.
   With the next payroll coming up, Ralph and I decided we’d better hand-deliver Mitsuko’s first check, rather than have them stack up in the office. This would be the ultimate test.
   I waited nervously in my office for Ralph to arrive and give me her reaction. When he finally came in, it was with a sour expression.
   "She took it," he said, sadly.
   "Damn" I replied. "We were so close."
   "Don’t give up. It’s not over yet."
   I grasped Ralph’s drift. "That’s right. She hasn’t cashed it!"
   Another two weeks went by, with Ralph calling the bank almost daily. Check #1406, rapidly becoming a legend in our company, remained uncashed.
   Mitsuko: The Perfect Employee.


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