You came in today near the end of my shift, and though I wasn't excited about starting a new fitting when I was so close to leaving, something drew me to you instead of the man standing at the counter.
As I offered assistance you turned and looked at me with a smile. I knew right away, this was going to be a fun fitting. I could see it in your eyes. You told me that you needed to replace your running shoes, and that you loved the ones you had always been in. You looked down at your feet, thus drawing my attention to your shoes as well.
When my eyes were met with your prosthetic leg and foot, I had a moment of inward hesitation. Self doubt about my abilities crept in. Would I know how to adequately take care of you? Did I know about any special needs or differences in this type of shoe fitting? I felt out of my league until you spoke again.
Your voice indicated that you had no doubt about me. You were confident in your shoe choice and you were confident that I could take care of you. Your smile put me at ease. Thank you.
I invited you to have a seat, take off your shoes and we began to chat. You briefly shared your story. Your running foot had been approved (I assume by insurance) and you were getting it next week, meaning that you could now get back into running.
You haven't been able to run for two years following your accident. The excitement you exuded to get started again is positively infectious!
I headed back to the shelves and brought out every color option we had for your shoe. As you decided which ones to try on, I tried to figure out in my head what to do with the hard, prosthetic left foot. Were you going to take it off? Would you leave it on? What does one do? Since you had a shoe on that foot already, I figured it wasn't going to be a big deal.
I was right. You are amazing. I put the shoe on your right foot, laced it up nice and secure and then began loosening the left shoe in preparation to put it on. As I did so, I did my usual questioning about how the new shoe felt on the right foot. I try to make sure there aren't any immediate issues before we even venture to the other foot.
We started with your left and as I began to struggle getting the shoe on, you very kindly said, "It's okay, let me do this one, it's difficult since there is no flexibility" and then you giggled.
As soon as you got that one on and I laced it up, my usual script came out of my mouth, "So how does that feel?" Again, you giggled saying, "I can't feel anything since there isn't anything there, so it's all good"
Your mother sitting next to you started to laugh as your giggling turned to laughing as well. I looked mortified and apologized but you were so kind to me! Your wise mother inserted "We HAVE to laugh"
You walked around in the new shoes giving them a nice test walk. You couldn't run, since you didn't have the running foot yet (which is different than the every day prosthetic foot) and I watched you in amazement. Not only were you completely and self sufficiently mobile, but more importantly, you are HAPPY!
You came back and sat down and then the hard part began. Which color to choose? We checked the soles as you explained how the running foot is built and how they make it work in the shoe. You described how they match certain things to the running shoe you use. Stuff like that. You showed me where your prosthetic leg began and where your actual limb ended. I asked if you minded telling me about the accident. You explained that you had been hit by a car while you were out running two years ago. Initially, they reattached your foot, but it didn't work out and they ended up removing it again. There was no sorrow, pity or anger in your voice as you told me the story, you just explained it very matter-of-factly. I was impressed with your open heart.
You finalized your color choices to two. It was hard to decide, so after some talking it through with your Mom, you decided to get both pair. Both are GREAT looking shoes and since they are the same ones I run in, I loved them even more for you!
As I was putting them back in the boxes and tidying up while you put your old shoes on, we continued talking about the wonderful blessing of being able to run again. As I saw and felt your happiness and gratitude, I was overwhelmed with an emotion that I can only describe as "pure and simple joy for another human being."
We chatted some more at the cash wrap while we took care of the business end. You told me you wanted to come back when you got your new running foot and show me how you can run. I told you that if you come on a Thursday night and join the running group that I would run WITH you.
Deal. Pinky swear.
I admit, I was a little choked up watching you and your Mom walk out the doors. I might have had to go in the back room "for a drink". I might have had to wipe some mascara.
Thank you for coming in Amy.
Thank you for letting me help you.
Thank you for your positive attitude in the face of a difficult physical and emotional challenge
Thank you for inspiring me to be more grateful even in the middle of adversity
Thank you for letting me hug you.
Thank you for being you, because YOU are awesome!