Simple Kindness

The owners of a local shoe repair shop asked me to fill in for them for a week. I agreed.

My first day there, Sonja, the counter woman, brought a worn-out pair of work boots to my work area. She showed them to me and asked if I could restitch the soles. I looked them over, then told Sonja the customer will be better served with new soles. I will need to take the boots’ soles completely off, do the stitching, then reassemble them using the worn out old parts, saving him little, if any, money.

Sonja went to the counter, told him what I had said and came back to me again. She said: “He is strapped for cash right now, but plans to start working as a wild land firefighter next week. Is there anything less
expensive you can do to get him by for a while?”

I replied: “I can do hand stitching on some parts, cement other parts and nail some areas to cobble them together. This would get him by for a while.”

Sonja told him. “OK, do that,” he said.

In the meanwhile, a woman customer had come in, overheard their conversation, came to the counter and said, “Do what needs to be done to his boots; I will pay for it. I appreciate these young people who are doing this work. I want him to be safe fighting those awful fires.”

She paid the $85, I did the work and he is now on the line fighting blazes in southern Oregon or northern California.

Jerry Martin