His name was Aito Misushami. He had arrived from Japan one day ago with just enough money to buy food for a week—that was all. During the next few days he went from store to store, asking, in broken English, for any kind of work—washing dishes in restaurants, washing windows, sweeping floors. He got only a few short jobs, but that was enough to keep him going. Besides, the men he worked for liked him. He had an intelligent, honest face, was always pleasant, polite, smiling, and worked very efficiently. At night he slept in an abandoned car, an old wreck he had found along the railroad tracks. There, before he fell asleep, he ate his can of tuna and a tomato or two, and studied his handbook of English. Then, at first light, he was out beating the pavement again, and referring to his notebook for the places where he had already worked, judging when it would be good to try them again.

After six months of this, during which time he felt no self-pity, but only a stronger determination, he got his first big break. At a store for men’s clothing, where he had washed windows, the owner came out as Aito was walking by one early morning and asked him if he would like a regular job—not only as window-washer, but as stock-boy and all around helper. So it was that our young hero, Aito Misushami, began his climb up the ladder of success—from helper to salesman, from salesman to part owner, and finally to his own business. He wasn’t living just the American Dream, but the dream of all good, hard-working, persevering men and women. If there was a Hero Day, the name of Aito Misushami would be right up there at the top of the list.

And so, for all young people, let this be a lesson: prize what you have, however little it be, and make the most of it and of yourself.

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