This I Believe

Murray - W. Hempstead, New York
Entered on January 28, 2007
Age Group: 65+
  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

A Box of Old Shoes

I found a box of old shoes waiting for me as I came to work this morning. At first it appeared to be someone’s discards. The boots were grimy and were likely used by a landscaper. Other than hard wear and tear there was nothing wrong with them. They were carefully placed so that anyone passing would have a chance to see what was inside the box.

As I disposed of the zapadas I overcame a momentary annoyance at having to handle these apparent discards but then I thought of who might have left these shoes. What was the purpose of leaving a box of shoes and who might be the intended recipients?

What I thought was my garbage may have been intended for someone else. If one laborer can afford to buy new boots then there may be others who are in need. A quotation flashed into my mind; I had no shoes but then I met a man who had no feet.

For a poor laborer to gift his lesser possessions is something for us to consider. What can I learn from this act of kindness? What can I do to help the poorest and the neediest? Giving away once used possessions can bring real value and may even provide the means of a person to earn a living. Beyond old shoes are smiles, handshakes and friendships.