Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Walk a mile in a man’s shoes

Today I went to a local store near where I work.  It's in a poor neighborhood.  I've written before about this store in another post.

I got my two items and suddenly ran into the CEO of the company I work for.  He looked at me and I looked at him.  He may have known my name but I doubt it.  We’ve talked before and have been in the same meetings but honestly I try to be a person that people forget easily.  If a time comes in the future where I’ll be required to live a life of crime, it’ll work to my advantage.

I made my way to the self-checkout line which was a bit long and a man with a backpack and a basket full of food was in front of me.  I’d like to think I’m not a judgmental person but my life is full of cultural bias.  He had long hair and dressed like he hadn’t had new clothes in awhile.  (the hair doesn’t bother me as long hair is not an unusual thing in my own life)

Then I noticed his shoes.  They were open-toed shoes.  Not by design mind you but rather from wear and tear.  I could see his socks through the front of very worn out tennis shoes.  This man needed new shoes.

My first thoughts were to buy him new shoes.  Seriously.  I’ve done this before and I’m absolutely not against helping anyone with an immediate need at my own cost of money and time.  I’m not patting myself on the back either, I like to help people when my help can really…well…help.  Just one of those “unto the least of these” kind of things.

Then something happened.  I looked in his hand.  Starbucks.  I looked in his basket.  Zingers.  I thought to myself that if he was willing to buy unhealthy desserts and designer coffee and was still willing to walk around in crappy shoes then why should I buy him shoes?

I got to my car and it hit me.  I knew nothing about him.  I knew nothing about what he was buying, or if what he was buying was even for himself.   Maybe someone bought him the coffee and he was grateful for having something to drink.  I realized that I only knew one thing about him:  This man needed new shoes. 

Forgive me, but I am a judgmental jerk sometimes.  If I see him again he’s getting new shoes.


Anonymous said...

thanks, tracy, for the open thoughts and honesty. encouraging to read and puts my mind in a good place.

Warren said...

Maybe he's just really fond of those shoes. Maybe they were given to him by his dead wife...well, before she was dead. Or maybe not, maybe they were wrapped, she died, and then he opened them after. Well, not right after, because he would have been mourning. But a few weeks after. So he can't get rid of them because he's still hurting for her. So what he really needed was a hug...not new shoes. (And maybe that's why he doesn't cut his hair either...cause she used to cut it...which gives us an idea of how long shes been dead).

robert the grump said...

A Democrat would have bought the man some new shoes. And maybe a meal.

A Republican would accuse him of being a con artist and demand that he get a job.

Apparently, Libertarians will angrily accuse him of being a con artist, and then buy him some shoes anyway.

No wonder you never win any elections.

Gino said...

i democrat would have shaken down everybody in the neighborhood for money, and then take credit for buying the shoes.

a republican would have directed him to the nearest govt supported faith based charity.

a libertarian would have been too stoned to notice his shoes, concentrating instead on the bag of doritos in his cart.

Dave Johnson said...

Will you buy me new shoes? Or maybe some Zingers?

Tracie said...

I find it refreshing to hear your thoughts and appreciate your honesty. Thank you for sharing your story!

Justin Berger said...

Who gives a crap about this guy and his shoes? MICHAEL JACKSON IS DEAD!!!!!!!!