Tuesday, March 19, 2013

on dying well

One of my customers passed away. His name was Bob. He called me all the time. I'd say, "New Balance St. Louis, this is Shannon." He'd respond, "Well. If it isn't the loveliest TV star. I get to wake up to you every morning. Boy, you're charming. Can you send me another pair of shoes?"

He was an old guy in a nursing facility. I'd always ask him if he actually needed new shoes, because I swear he ordered from me every 3 months. I didn't want to take advantage of the guy. I never met him. He only ordered from me over the phone. He always asked for the TV star. And he always ordered shoe deodorizer for his "mexican cleaner." He told me she really liked it. He was the one who I offered to order a pair of black velcro shoes for and he exclaimed, "Only the gays wear those!"

He told me he'd be buried in a veteran's cemetary, but that Wal-mart was expanding and by the time he was buried he'd be six feet under the blue light special. Every time he ordered a shoe he'd remind me that he probably wouldn't order again because he'd be dead by then.

Well, his nephew called today to see if he could return a pair I sent him a month ago. It broke my heart. Ol' Bob Sullivan was gone. What a cool old man. You know, you can be racist when you're old and it's okay.

I also helped a 90 year old woman who brought her Rottweiler puppy in. She was awesome. And when they left she said, "Give us a hug!" and she kissed me on the cheek. She told me they'd have to burn her body with her shoes because they were so comfy. And she wanted to go dancing like she did in the 30's. Gosh, I'm not sure if I'll joke about dying. I hope I can.

That's it. I loved my customers today. You know if a customer makes you tear up, you're a lucky person.


  1. Its never okay to be a racist.

  2. Well, I love your post. Made me cry. That is sweet and sad. I'm glad you have sweet people in there along with the crazy ones.

  3. Sweet old people. They made my day when I worked at the nursing home.

  4. I know what you mean by racist old people. It's like they come from a time when saying the stuff they said was okay, so I get it. I feel like every old person I meet dying in the hospital is super duper racist, but lots of them are really sweet regardless of their unfortunate 1950-60s cultural heritage.