By Karen O’Connor:
Is God prompting you today to recognize someone in a special way, whether that be a shoeshine man or someone else who serves others?
My husband Charles worked for a time selling men’s shoes at Nordstrom. While there he met Dan, whose job it was to shine men’s shoes. Charles and Dan became good friends, trading jokes and jibes each day when they met in the shoe department.
Over time, Charles learned that Dan was a lonely guy with few real friends and little or no contact with his grown children. It was unlikely this unusual friendship would be instrumental in Charles finding God in the shoeshine man. But it did.
One particular day, he made a point of finding out Dan’s birthday. It was apparent to him that this crusty old codger would enjoy some acknowledgment. Charles got the date from the personnel manager and ordered a cake. Dan was turning seventy—not a small milestone. The morning before the big day, Charles announced at an employee meeting that he’d have a cake for Dan in the lunchroom at noon. He invited as many as could get away at that time.
The following day, Dan walked in for lunch and was overcome with music, cake, and a bombardment of Nordstrom friends. He wept at the sight, stating in a wobbly voice, “This is the first birthday party I’ve ever had.” You can imagine how Charles felt. He’d followed his hunch and carried it out. A couple of years later we received an early morning phone call from the personnel manager at the store. Dan had died the previous day.
Now it was Charles’ turn to weep. A man unlike any he’d known before had become a good friend and now he was gone. Finding God in the shoeshine man had changed his life. “It didn’t cost me a thing,” said Charles. “Dan gave me more than I ever gave him.”
Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves (Romans 12:10, the Bible).
For fun, view this YouTube video featuring New York City’s best shoeshine man.
©Karen O’Connor. Karen is an author, writing mentor, and frequent contributor to the Finding God Daily blog. Visit Karen on the web at www.karenoconnor.com