Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: EMBARRASS(ED) (11/03/16)
TITLE: The Green Shoes
By Louise Fugate
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It was a beautiful sunny day, and I was eager and smiling as I entered the store and walked up to the long counter that was as high as my armpits. There was another lady customer standing at the other end of the counter who was wearing a very pretty two piece turquoise suit. The clerk who was waiting on me told me to wait just a moment while he went to bring out my paint. As I waited, I looked around at other customers and smiled. It was such a great day!
The clerk came out with a square box filled with four gallons of paint and an extra gallon on the side. I paid for my paint as I made a mental note as to how I would carry the paint out to my car. Being in a hurry, I decided to carry the box of paint cans out all by myself. Then I had another “bright” idea—I will set the fifth can on top so I would not have to come back in the store again.
As I raised my arms up to secure the box, the heavy box began to tip towards me—not too far, but far enough that the gallon sitting on top of the four cans began to slide and tip toward the lady in the turquoise suit. By the time I realized what was taking place, it was too late. I hung on to the box with all my might, but the top can hit the floor with such an impact that the lid blew off, and the paint spewed to the other end of the counter. The lady’s turquoise suit was now heavily spotted with the prettiest color of green. She gasped as she looked at me in disbelief and said, “Do you know who I am?”
Well, of course, I did not know who she was. I felt bad for what I had done, but it certainly was not something I had done on purpose. It may have been stupid, but it was not intentional. The little man who was standing behind the lady looked down at his own green shoes and gave me a whimsical smile when he heard the excited clerk say, “She is the mayor’s daughter!”
It was a day I’ll never forget. I could not remember a time that I had been so embarrassed! The store changed their policy that day—no one would be allowed to carry paint out of the store without staff assistance; and fortunately, I didn’t get sued by the painted lady. BUT the one thing that has stayed in my heart and my mind all these years is the snapshot of the little man in the green shoes who gave me the whimsical smile. He wasn’t thinking about what I had done to him, and he wasn’t thinking about his own importance. As he assessed the situation, he found humor in it, and his merciful smile assured me that what I had done was not the end of the world and that I was not a lesser person for it.
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