While animals are trained to help people, we no longer employ them to literally do human jobs. Today we share with you a curious and sad story.
This story begins with a railway signalman named James Wide, who lived in the 1800s. He earned the nickname “Jumper” from jumping between the trains, but the one time he screwed up was fatal. James lost both his legs, and would soon replace them with peg legs, but would never be the same. He knew that if he didn’t find a way he would lose his job and would never get another job.
Jumper found a baboon carrying an ox wagon in the marketplace. He later found that the baboon was well trained, and he successfully pleaded with the owner to give the baboon to him.
Jumper would train the baboon, Jack, to run the train signals in the railways. When the two were eventually found out by the railroad owners, Jack was put to the test and proved he was able to do this job with 100 % accuracy.
Jack, the Baboon, would go on to be officially hired by the railroad, receiving an employment number, as well as his monthly rations. Jumper would go on to teach him to clean the house and be his private guard. For the rest of his life, Jack would be employed as a Signalman and would never make a mistake.
Jack pushed Jumper on his trolley, away from their work, back towards home. Although Jumper was a cripple and Jack a monkey, an unlikely pair that would have usually drawn more pity than wonder, recently they had become quite notable. No one could believe the railway worker and his pet not only cohabited easily but also functioned as inseparable coworkers.
Jumper rested a hand on Jack’s head, rubbing his noggin with a wistful smile. “You know Jack, I never had too many friends before the accident.. and afterwards most of them left me. A cripple, unemployed, a failure.. I could see in their eyes only pity. Nothing kills a friendship faster than pity, Jack.” Jack just nodded, a large grin on his face as he has any time Jumper chooses to scratch his head. Reminiscent of natural grooming, perhaps, the way his species bonds.
Jumper sighed, “I guess, without being mushy about it.. what I’m trying to say is that to a cripple like me, you aren’t a monkey. You’re more human than anyone else that talks to me. You see me as a friend, a person, not something to be pitied..”
Jumper cleared his throat. “You aren’t just my pet… you are my friend”