Monday, 23 August 2010

The Good Shoes

I received a very special gift for my birthday this year. A meaningful one. It was a material gift, yes, but it was what the gift stood for, and where it came from, that meant so much.

I'm hardly going to bore you by discussing my finances, but I will just say that I don't have any disposable income these days. Since going freelance I'm working my butt off to get the rent paid, and that's about it. I've also been hunting for a day job but as yet have not been successful. So when my papa sent me a crisp note in my birthday card, I knew I would treat myself to something.

Unfortunately, I could only get one thing on that big mental shopping list in my head. I mentioned this on Twitter, as a completely throwaway, meaningless comment. I mentioned the shoes I really wanted, but which I would have to forgo in lieu of a new bag. (I'd wanted a new bag for a long time, but then I also don't own many decent pairs of shoes... heck, even the investment of my birthday money required careful consideration!)

Then I got a message from someone on Twitter. Someone I have a great deal of respect for, but whom I had never met in real life. The message I received completely took me by surprise.

This person offered to buy me the shoes.

Naturally my first question was, "But why would you want to do that?"

Their response? They knew about my struggle with the job hunt. They saw my determined optimism. They knew "how much little pick-me-ups can mean and what they can do for morale."

The genuine kindness of this gesture took me aback. I mean, we live in a world of "each for themself". How can someone be this generous?

I wanted to do something in return. Give them something. But they were having none of it. They insisted that the warmth of having done something good for someone else was payment enough. That they were once on the receiving end of a good deed and were now delighted to be able to pass it on.

I have to respect that. It's not hard to be generous but it actually takes a lot of guts. And if it makes that person feel good, then even better. So (partly still in shock) I accepted the offer of the birthday shoes.

Sure enough, the shoes arrived a couple of day later. Despite my stupidly big feet, they fit like a glove. I absolutely love them, but all the more for the kindness that had brought them to me in the first place.

I am not going to name the person who sent them to me, because I don't want them to feel uncomfortable about their generosity going public (plus they might start getting inundated with requests for shoes....). However, I hope they read this, and understand that they have inspired me. I will take the steps in these shoes to make someone else smile.

And you know what? It's not hard to find opportunities to make someone's day. I now keep thinking about all the countless things one can do, and that list really is endless. I intend to pass on the kindness, and I also hope this would be passed on again, until everyone's days are a little brighter.

The great thing about good deeds is that they are contagious. If we all did one little good deed every day, imagine how far they would spread!

So for my birthday this year I was given the gift of shoes, but also the gift of inspiration. A reminder that even the smallest good deeds can mean so much. I won't forget it. Especially when I wear my new favourite shoes.


  1. wow, what a lucky girl you are :P

    I love your blog and you are inspiring me a lot these days. Keep writing and keep fighting for your dream.

    More people should buy other people pretty shoes!! :P Now seriously, this world needs more kind spirits like the one you write about.

  2. Thank you for writing such a lovely blog. I'm the person who sent you the shoes. I want to thank you for giving me the opportunity to do this for you and I am glad it's been received so well. I have no doubt you will do so much in the shoes. Every day we're able to do something for others, even with a few words. Sadly many don't understand the power of words. Although words can't break bones, they can break hearts.
    Thank you for carrying it on and making the world a little better.
    M x

  3. There are some fantastically kind and generous people out there. When you are the recipient it really does make you see the world a little differently. Enjoy the shoes!

  4. 'Sadly many don't understand the power of words. Although words can't break bones, they can break hearts'

    that sentence nearly made me cry !

  5. What a lovely blog post - and a lovely gesture on both sides. Makes me happy.

  6. I believe the term is "Paying it forward" (you knew that). It's one of the most life affirming positive things we can do for each other here on this planet. It always comes back.
    Great story - thanks for sharing!

  7. Lovely blog post - that has really made me smile! It's so nice to know that there are still some kind, thoughtful human beings out there :)

  8. What a lovely story!!! I have found quite often that people who you don't know, or have only just met can be far more generous than people you have known for years! I wonder why that is!

  9. That was an awesome story! I'm inspired to do more out of the kindness of my heart. Oh yes and the shoes are cuutteee.

  10. A really lovely post and a really special gesture. Thank you for sharing

  11. That's so lovely! There are some lovely people on the internet, aren't there?

  12. This is lovely. I have received secret presents in the post that no-one will own up to and it makes my whole week! You deserved these shoes. :)


  13. Really inspirational blog, thank you. Read about you in Red too and loved your piece there-I'm also a good friend of Muireann's. Vicki