A card that was supposed to be presented as a retirement gift has been found still being passed around an office eighteen months after the intended recipient retired and left the company.
John Mills retired from the accounts department of a stationery supplies company in Dunstable in May 2012, after working there for over forty years. A card and collection was passed around the office in the weeks leading up to his retirement, but due to nobody really knowing who was responsible for starting this it is still circulating today.
“It did seem strange when I kept being given cards to sign and collections to donate to every few days, despite not seeing a noticeable turnover of staff, but I just didn’t give it that much thought until now.” said Hilary James, a former colleague of John’s, who discovered the mistake yesterday, “Each time one came around I just scribbled a message, added some spare change to the envelope and passed it on. It being the same card over and over again does explain why it was getting so heavy.”
Upon inspection Hilary discovered that she alone had signed the card one hundred and thirty four times, each time simply writing “All the best, Hilary”, and that in total the card had been signed over ten thousand times, by one hundred and twenty different people. At least half of the people who have signed the card have no idea who John is and are reasonably sure they have never even spoken to him.
“The sheer volume of signatures on the card made it very hard to decipher what had been written and we had to bring in forensic experts to help. They think that the first name on the card was John’s supervisor, who was taken ill shortly before he retired and has been off sick ever since. So it would seem that she bought the card and organised the collection, but then in her absence it just kept on circulating.”
In the eighteen months since the card first started to be passed around a total of £232.11 has been added to the envelope, all in coins smaller than fifty pence.