An old shoe shiner struggling to make a living loses his gear, but the next day a gang member knocks on his door.
Sam Springle was seventy-two years old and his life had not been easy. Sometimes it seemed to him that every step he took was on the wrong road, and that this road had led him to misery.
He wasn’t homeless because he was lucky enough to inherit a small apartment from an uncle, and he wasn’t starving because he had a shoe shine stand in the neighborhood. Business.
Sam worked as a shoe shiner in the business district. | Source: Pixabay
Sam opened his briefcase and set up his bench and equipment at the same time early every morning and spent the rest of the day shining shoes. It wasn’t a great life, but it was honest work.
By the end of Sam’s day, his hands were saturated with black and brown stains from the shoes. No matter how hard he rubbed his hands, they never looked clean.
A split-second decision can change a life.
At the time, Sam owned a shoe repair shop, but that was before he took one of those “wrong turns.” A shoe shiner was all he was now. He certainly couldn’t afford to settle down again. Come rain or shine, snow or hail, people knew Sam was right there in his corner, ready to add some sparkle to their walk.
Sam was never able to wash his hands. | Source: Unsplash
One afternoon, Sam was coming home late. This was unusual because Sam insisted on always getting home before dark. The street he lived on changed after dark and became gang territory.
Most of the time they left the residents alone, but sometimes the younger ones picked on Sam, and once they roughed him up. That evening, the street was very quiet, but Sam hurried.
Then suddenly a car sped by and Sam heard a series of gunshots and a scream. He dropped his briefcase and ran forward. There was a young boy lying on the ground and he looked like he had been shot.
Sam, who was once a medic in the army, immediately knelt down next to the boy. He took off his jacket and tried to stop the bleeding. “Call 911!” He cried. “Call 911!…”
Gangs were hanging out in Sam’s neighborhood. | Source: Unsplash
Someone in the silent houses had to call 911 because ten minutes later an ambulance arrived and they took care of the boy. The police wanted to know what happened and Sam told his story.
“So I dropped my suitcase, and I ran towards the boy…” he explained.
“You saved his life,” said the policeman. “The paramedic said the boy was lucky.”
Sam shrugged. “Look, I did what I could,” he said, then frowned. “I don’t see my case!”
Sam witnessed a drive-by shooting. | Source: Pexel
With the help of the policeman, Sam started to search the sidewalk, then he saw his suitcase. He had dropped it, and when the ambulance arrived, it had rolled over the poor shoe shiner’s briefcase. It was completely destroyed and everything in it was smashed and splattered all over the road.
Sam shook her head and tears filled her eyes. “What am I going to do?” He whispered. “What am I going to do?”
“What was in it?” asked the policeman.
“I’m a shoe shiner,” he explained. “I used to shine shoes. I’m nothing now… what am I going to do?”
The policeman shook his head. “Come on, man, I’ll take you home,” he said. “Tomorrow will take care of itself.”
The ambulance took the boy to the hospital. | Source: Unsplash
Two days later, Sam was sitting at home when someone knocked on his door. Sam has NEVER had visitors! He got up and opened the door. There was a tall man there, wearing the colors of the gang.
“Are you the guy who saved Devonne?” asked the man.
Sam was scared. The man was tall and didn’t look friendly at all. “I was there,” he said. “I tried to help him…”
“Doctors said he would be dead,” the man said. “He’s my little brother, and he almost died because of me… And you saved him.” To Sam’s surprise, the tall man started crying.
“You saved his life,” said the policeman. “The paramedic said the boy was lucky.” | Source: Unsplash
“They sued him because he’s my brother,” the man sobbed. “He’s not in the gang, he’s a good boy!”
Sam didn’t know what to do so he patted the tall man on the shoulder. “You’ll keep him safe now,” he said. “It’ll be fine.”
The man nodded. “Yes. I’m leaving the gang and leaving this town as soon as Devonne is better,” he said. Then he shoved a case into Sam’s hand. “This is for you,” the man said before turning and walking away.
Sam opened the case and was amazed to find a complete, brand new shoe shine kit. He could get back to work!
There was a brand new shoe shine kit in the case. | Source: Pixabay
In no time, Sam’s customers were thrilled to see him back in his corner. Plus, he found himself with a new batch of clients: every cop in town started going to him for a shoe shine.
What can we learn from this story?
- A split-second decision can change a life. Sam dropped everything and went to the boy’s rescue even though it might cost him his livelihood.
- Violence begets violence. The gang member has learned the hard way that violence spills over and can affect those we love the most.
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