“I restarted the shoeshine business in Mobile in the late 70’s. There used to be shoeshine stations on every corner. The idea is to make a guy smile, but you have to do it on his feet. A shoeshiner has to have a gift for gab, the ability to know what is coming next and be a chemist with the ability to blend. He has to be a cobbler too. We do anything that is leather including ladies’ shoes and purses. I left Mobile for a while, then came back to take care of my mother. Mayor Jones told me I should open a shoeshine stand in the courthouse and I have been here since ’08. I love every minute of it. It’s not just a shoeshine, it is protection from the weather and a foot massage. I put a shine on your shoes so you have a smile on your face. Now the judge likes you. Ladies love you because if you take care of your shoes, you take care of yourself and you will take care of them. You will get her attention with your boots.”
“Why do perfection and quality matter to you?”
“I am selling myself, what I think and feel. I am a stylish guy. I am very meticulous and like things to be sharp. It has to look good to me before I put you down. If you are in a hurry, you can’t get a shine with me. I sit them down and fellowship and I don’t put anyone down half way. They are happy when they leave, I guarantee it.
“I am also a security guard at night. People who are dead don’t have the opportunities we have. When the Lord sends Gabriel to blow the horn in my face, I want him to see that I am so busy that he is going to get a lazy guy instead. Zig Ziglar once walked up to me, but I didn’t see him because I was counting money at my stand at the airport. He wanted a shine, but told me ‘son, do you realize if you weren’t counting your money, you could be making money?'”
A man walks by as he is shining a pair of boots and the shoeshiner says, “Whenever you are are ready. I am going to do his, and then you are going to want this.”