The Soul of Shoes

I remember working at Footlocker as I have frequently over the years – I applaud the company for always welcoming me back with open arms – I was the only stripes in the store this particular morning. Alex was in the back and Freddy was making drops when a customer walked in. The older man smiled from ear to ear like he had won Powerball. His shoes were worn to the soles and his white t-shirt appeared to have been white at one point but now was homelessly dingy. And he wore dad jeans! Regardless, I reciprocated his smile and strategized mentally on how much commission I could make off the cheap shoes I just knew he was going to buy. As he sat at a bench by the men’s Nike wall I approached him cautiously. I noticed instantly his aura was palpable. He was oozing happiness through his unshakable smile. Then he began:

“Morning”

“Hello Sir. Welcome to Foot Locker can I help you?” I inquired.

“Maybe.”

“Maybe?”

“Yes maybe… We all have to help each other sometime.”

“Well how are you today? Do you need help?”

“I’m doing just fine. How are you?”

“I’m not bad.”

He wasn’t satisfied with this answer. “Not bad? What would make you better?”

I shrugged “I don’t know.” There was a long silence as he stared at me waiting for a follow up, “Do you?”

“Yes. As a matter of fact I do know. Sit down.”

As I sat next to him breaking store policy, he held my hand “Listen. You can become better if you sit and think about the people you love, respect, and admire. Then think about all the things that make the people you love, respect, and admire who they are. Now ball all those things up and make them a part of who you are. Take them with you everyday, everywhere you go. Then you will be able to be someone’s rainbow. You’ll find you’re closer than you’ve ever been and that you’re well on your way to being all you ever dreamed of becoming. You’ll be well, you’ll never be ‘not bad’ again. Remember this and have a life as beautiful as you are.”

He let my hand go and smiled at me some more. As he walked out of the store I knew I would never be the same.