Unconditional kindness: the gift of a pair of size 8 shoes

JamesShoesThose who have the least often give the most.

My homeless friend James has a brand new pair of shoes, courtesy of a woman who works at a Dunkin’ Donuts.

James walks several miles a day collecting returnable bottles and cans, and his shoes take a beating. He told me yesterday that he was going to try to get by for a couple of more weeks with the sneakers he had on. They were ripped and full of holes.

This morning, I planned to take a photo of those shoes and ask via Facebook for someone to donate a pair of size 8s to replace them.

IMG_3191So I went looking for James and found him near the post office where he stops every morning to read his newspapers and mail letters. I saw him pushing his trademark shopping cart.

The new shoes were hard to miss. An employee at Dunkin’ Donuts gave them to James when he made his daily stop for coffee a couple of hours earlier. He was happy and grateful.

“They might last me a couple of months, as much as I walk,” James said.

After I left him, I drove to work and saw Paul, a local man who — several mornings a week — delivers breakfast to some of the city’s homeless. He was in his car, making the rounds with homemade egg-sausage-and-cheese sandwiches. James is a regular beneficiary of Paul’s kindness, and they know each other well.

James turns 50 this October. He reminds Paul, who’s 70-ish, not to neglect his own health while he bestows kindness onto so many others. “You may be a church,” James said he tells Paul, “but you’re still a human.”

The same might be said of a woman who works at Dunkin’ Donuts.


About Jim McKeever

Writer, father, runner, advocate based in Central New York.
This entry was posted in Homeless, Irish Investigations and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to Unconditional kindness: the gift of a pair of size 8 shoes

  1. This post makes my heart happy, Jim – thanks for sharing the story. ❤
    Diana xo


  2. Kathleen Kogel says:

    I shared this post on FB. Thanks for passing on James’s good advice.


  3. markbialczak says:

    That James is an interesting soul, as you showed me in person, my friend. And bless the Dunkin’ Donuts woman who saw that and took care of his hard-working soles, too. (Thank you, sandwich maker Paul, for making our city a more human place, while I have the chance to say it.)

    Liked by 2 people

  4. You are surrounded by gentle and goodness Jim. You putting these stories out here just keeps spreading that goodness further and wider.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Amy says:

    How wonderful.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Angie Mc says:

    Jim, your posts are so real and purposeful, this one included. Love the shoes! I just realized that for some reason your blog wasn’t in my Feedly reader. It is now and I look forward to catching up with you this weekend. Later!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Thanks for the people who do no small favor

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Hello Jim! What a great piece. This act of kindness that you wrote of with such respect and detail about everyone involved really brings to clarity of the tremendous need there is in the United States ….and many countries worldwide now.
    Your voice is so important as it really reminds me of the importance of seeing a need and stepping up whenever I can.


  9. Hello: Thought of James today …and your focus on homeless issues on your website when I read an article today. Thought I would stop on over and share the link with you. Peace to you Jim.



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