Source: Shutterstock.com

Old Shoeshiner Loses His Equipment Saving a Life, Next Day Known Gang Member Comes to His Door — Story of the Day

Manuela Cardiga
Jun 07, 2022
07:00 A.M.
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An old shoeshiner who struggles to make a living loses his equipment, but the next day a gang member knocks on his door.


Sam Springle was seventy-two and his life hadn't been easy. Sometimes it seemed to him that every step he took had been down the wrong road, and that road had led to misery.

He wasn't homeless because he had been lucky enough to inherit a tiny apartment from an uncle, and he wasn't starving because he had a shoeshine stall down in the business district.

Sam worked as a shoeshiner in the business district. | Source: Pixabay


Sam opened his case and set up his bench and equipment at the same time early every morning and spent the rest of the day polishing shoes. It wasn't a great living, but it was honest work.

By the time Sam's day ended, his hands were saturated with black and brown stains from the shoes. No matter how much he scrubbed his hands, they never looked clean.

A split-second decision can change a life.

Back in the day, Sam owned a shoe repair shop, but that was before he had taken one of those 'wrong turns.' A shoeshiner was all he was now. He certainly couldn't afford to set up shop again. So come rain or come shine, snow or hail, people knew that Sam was there on his corner ready to add a shine to their step.


Sam could never get his hands clean. | Source: Unsplash

One afternoon, Sam was late getting home. That was unusual because Sam made a point of always getting home before dark. The street where he lived changed after dark and became the territory of a gang.


They mostly left the residents alone, but sometimes the younger ones would pick on Sam, and once, they roughed him up. That evening, the street was very quiet, but Sam hurried along.

Then suddenly a car came speeding past and Sam heard a series of shots and a scream. He dropped his case and ran forward. There was a young boy lying on the ground and he appeared to have been shot.

Sam, who was once a medic in the army, immediately knelt at the boy's side. He took off his jacket and tried to staunch the bleeding. "Call 911!" he screamed. "Call 911!..."

Gangs hung out in Sam's neighborhood. | Source: Unsplash


Someone in the silent houses must have called 911 because ten minutes later an ambulance arrived and they took care of the boy. The police wanted to know what had happened and Sam told his story.

"So I dropped my case, and I ran to the boy..." he explained.

"You saved his life," the policeman said. "The paramedic said the boy was lucky."

Sam shrugged. "Listen, I did what I could," he said, then he frowned. "I don't see my case!"

Sam witnessed a drive-by shooting. | Source: Pexels


With the policeman's help, Sam started searching the sidewalk, then he saw his case. He had dropped it, and when the ambulance arrived, it had rolled right over the poor shoeshiner's case. It was completely destroyed, and everything in it was broken and splattered all over the road.

Sam shook his head and tears filled his eyes. "What am I going to do?" he whispered. "What am I going to do?"

"What was in there?" the policeman asked.

"I'm a shoeshiner," he explained. "I was a shoeshiner. I'm nothing now...What am I going to do?"

The policeman shook his head. "Come on, old-timer, I'm taking 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 NEVER had visitors! He got up and opened the door. There was a big man there, wearing gang colors.


"Are you the dude that saved Devonne?" the man asked.

Sam was frightened. The man was big and didn't look at all friendly. "I was there," he said. "I tried to help him..."

"The doctors said he would have died," the man said. "He's my little brother, and he nearly died because of me...And you saved him." To Sam's surprise, the big man started crying.

"You saved his life," the policeman said. "The paramedic said the boy was lucky." | Source: Unsplash


"They went after him because he's my brother," the man sobbed. "He's not in the gang, he's a good kid!"

Sam didn't know what to do so he patted the big man's shoulder. "You'll keep him safe now," he said. "It will be okay."

The man nodded. "Yes. I'm leaving the gang and I'm leaving this city as soon as Devonne is well," he said. Then he pushed a case into Sam's hand. "This is for you," the man said before turning around and walking away.

Sam opened the case and was stunned to find a complete, brand new shoeshine kit. He could get back to work again!

There was a brand new shoe shine kit in the case. | Source: Pixabay


In no time, Sam's customers were glad to see him back at his corner. Moreover, he ended up with a new lot of clients: every single cop in the city 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 could cost him his livelihood.
  • Violence begets violence. The gang member learned the hard way that violence spills over and can affect those we love the most.

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If you enjoyed this story, you might like this one about three women who receive an inheritance from their grandmother and it teaches them a hard lesson about fairness and the wages of greed.

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