April 9, 2015

The Shoe Shine Man

The mystery of the shoe shine man under the main street bridge had the townsfolk in an uproar. Often when one would drive by, they would see the shoe shine man carefully shining a customer's shoes, chatting away and smiling as he did so. Was he explaining the process similar to the How to shine shoes - The Hanger Project they'd seen on the internet, or was it just casual conversation to pass the time
as he did his job? And who was this mystery man for the townsfolk had never seen him before. And what right did he have to shine their people's shoes and tell them how to get that perfect shine, they often wondered. What right indeed, for many could just as easily head to the local discount dollar store and shine their own shoes for a mere two dollars. Yet the shoe shining man charged a measly five cents, while he dressed in old-timer clothing smiling at his customers and chatting away as if it were okay to do so. How dare he present himself in such a manner when the townsfolk made an effort to keep their town beautiful!

Finally fed up with his shoe shining business, some of the townsfolk decided to pay the man a visit and give him a piece of their mind. Upon arrival, they noticed a customer happily paying the man as if it was the greatest thing in the world. The mob of townsfolk in an even angrier uproar over the little scene before them, stopped the customer to give him a piece of their mind as well.

 "How dare you stop to encourage that old man and his business." Said the mayor. "We are a community that takes pride in our town! Just look at him! His clothes are old and he's started a business under our bridge!" 

 "Yes, he needs to go!" The sheriff chimed in. "Let him take his business elsewhere! He is not wanted here!" The townspeople nodded in agreement ready to backup their leaders to keep their precious town beautiful!

A single tear drop fell from the customer's cheek as he responded to their unkind words, " Forgive me." He said, then turned to the old man who no longer smiled and said, "This is my father, Roger Elendgere. He has Alzheimer's. Every day he sets up his business here because this is where he shined shoes for many years. It's the only thing he remembers every morning. -His love for shoes. And every day I watch and wait for him to set things up, then I come to get my shoes shined." The townspeople ashamed of themselves began to nod at the son's story. "We talk and by the end of my shine, my father remembers the life he lived once again." The son continued.

Again, the townspeople nodded  at the son's story, too ashamed to speak. Finally, a young man stepped forward from the crowd and handed the old man a nickel. "I'd like my shoes shined please." He said with a smile. One by one the people began to form a line, awaiting their turn to give the shoe shine man a nickel and a warm welcome to their beloved town for they had learned their lesson that day, never to judge a soul new or old in their town again.