JACK THE BABOON
For Mental Floss's "500 Most Influential People" issue. One such influential "person" was Jack the Baboon who, in 1880's South Africa, assisted James Edwin Wilde, a peg-legged railway signalman with his daily tasks. Jack did janitorial duties, but excelled at operating the signal box. Jack was so great at his job, he was given an official employee number and paid 20 cents a day with a weekly bonus of half a bottle of beer.