I’m not sure what made me notice his feet, but once I saw them I couldn’t get them out of my mind.
Cruising through Victory Park at the end of an exhilarating long run, I catch a glance of a man sitting on a ledge outside of the stadium parking garage, right next to the luxury Lexus on permanent display. Running at a good clip, the scene doesn’t register in my brain until well after I pass him, but then I realize that his feet were red, blistered and painful looking. He had taken off a pair of uncomfortable looking black boots and set them on the ledge beside him.
I remember that someone once told me socks and clean underwear can be a godsend to the homeless. Impulsively, I circle back to CVS, where I scour the shelves for a simple pair of non-diabetic men’s socks, all the while feeling foolish about this harebrained plan. What if he’s not there by the time I return? What if he’s not homeless and is insulted by my presumption? What if he’s angry, crazy or violent. All plausible possibilities, but I won’t forgive myself if don’t go back.
Socks in hand, I run back to where I saw him and find him still there, eating pizza out of a Styrofoam shell. Tentatively, I hold out the socks. Without saying a word, he stands up and embraces me, tears welling in his eyes. He thanks me and offers me some of his pizza, willing to share with me what might be his only meal that day. I think it is perhaps the most selfless gift anyone has ever offered me. I think that I have been blessed beyond measure for the price of a pair of five-dollar socks.