Like the saying goes with 'shirt off the back', Chicago native Maurice Anderson gave the boots off his feet to a homeless man in need on the train. Another passenger on the train, Jessica Bell, shared the moment of his act of kindness on Facebook:
So I'm headed home on the CTA Redline and there's a homeless man sitting across from me. He's older, weathered, minding his own business. His feet are so swollen he's wearing the tattered gym shoes he has with the back folded down, like slip-ons. I don't know how many pairs of socks he's wearing in an attempt to keep his feet warm but there is blood seeping through.
There's another man on the other side of the doors; he's younger, carrying a satchel and a suitcase, also minding his own business. He's wearing a pair of big black snow boots. They look new; they look expensive; they're built for a Chicago winter.
Quietly, in a blink and you'll miss it fashion, the younger man takes off the boots he's wearing and passes them to the old man. He opens his suitcase and gives him a pair of socks as well.
The young man puts on a spare pair of shoes from the suitcase. These shoes are nice too, but not as nice as the boots. They would have fit the old man just as well, but they were not what this old man needed.
He tells the old man to try and clean his feet and to make sure he changes into the new socks as soon as he can and then the young man gets off at 87th.
Those of us who are close enough to see and hear the exchange are floored.
The shoes off his feet.
I love my shit-hole city.
I love that in a time and place where hate and apathy are rampant, quiet compassion appears without warning.
I pray that we all are compelled to do similar.
I pray that we all allow empathy to invoke action.
I pray that we never forget that we have always had the power to be a blessing.
I'm inspired to continue to try to "be the change" and I pray you are too.
UPDATE: I gave the young man my card and told him how blessed I was just witnessing his heart. So now we can put a face and a story to this inspiration.
Anderson currently lives in Kentucky, working as a service technician in Kentucky, with the hope of getting a job back in Chicago to be near his daughter. He was on his way to his daughter's house on the South Side, from the airport. He gave a Facetime interview to WLS-TV from Kentucky:
"I looked down and his shoes were off, one of his socks was bleeding through," Anderson said.
...Anderson said the homeless man told him his feet may have been frostbitten.
"I asked him what size shoe did he wear. He was like, a 12. I myself was a 12, so I said here you go," Anderson said.
As Bell guessed, it was a pair of brand new $260 snow boots. Anderson said he would rather help than judge people in need, and that he often helps the homeless by buying them clothing or supplies.
"He's already in distress, he's out in the cold, riding the train," Anderson said. "If I'm not reaching out to help someone, I can't say anything."
Anderson and Bell said the homeless man was in shock over the kind gesture and really appreciated it.
"I think that's what really resonated with me," Bell said. "It was a really selfless and quiet act, no fanfare. It just happened."
Bell decided to share the story on Facebook because "during a time when hate and apathy are rampant, quiet compassion appears without warning."
(via ABC7, "Good Samaritan takes off boots, gives them to homeless man on train in Illinois")