12-year-old David was excited to buy new sneakers after saving for a long time, but he decided to buy a classmate with worn-out shoes boots instead. He had no idea that his kindness would be repaid in a way he didn’t expect.
David always sat by the window on the way home from school. As usual, he threw open the window and let the afternoon breeze blow across his face as he thought back, moment by moment, to the game he played that day.
One of his teammates had told him, “What you did on the field today was unbelievable!”
“Guys, I think we’re dealing with a national-level player. Get your signatures while you still can!” David was teased by another player, who patted him on the back almost too hard.
That was his long-term goal: to play for his country and make history, just like all of his soccer heroes.
David could almost taste the sweet air of victory and pride when he and his team held the golden championship trophy and smiled for pictures.
David would always practice what he would say at the end of the match for the cameras and the newspapers. How he went from being poor to becoming rich. And how he owed everything he was to his mother.
“Sorry, can I sit here?”
David was so lost in his thoughts that he didn’t notice when a classmate asked if they could sit next to him.
The boy sat down next to David, put his arm around his backpack, and began to think about his own dream. “I want to be the school’s best soccer player. Just like David. I can’t believe I’m next to him!’
The boy loved David’s game and never missed an opportunity to watch him play. David was everything he wished he could be, in his mind. He wanted to play like him, have lots of friends like him, and even wear those fancy soccer shoes David was wearing.
The boy thought, “These old, worn-out shoes will do for now.” He hid his feet under the seat because he was embarrassed.
Guillermo was always shy, so making friends was hard for him. The boy finally got up the nerve to talk to his hero one day.
“Hi, David! I’m Guillermo. I’m your biggest fan!”
“Oh? Hi, Guillermo! Thank you.”
David went back to daydreaming, leaving a strange silence.
“I like your shoes a lot!” The first thing that came to Guillermo’s mind was what he said out loud.
“These? The soles are already starting to come off because these are so old. “Wait until you see the new shoes I’m getting…” David’s eyes lit up when he thought about the awesome shoes he had been saving up for.
“Please tell me more!” Guillermo said as he put his feet slowly under the seat. He didn’t want David to see how ugly and worn out his own shoes were.
“Well, they’re just right! They are bright orange and have a grip that can’t be beat…”
David had been trying to get money for the sneakers he wanted for seven months. The 12-year-old wanted to buy something for himself for the first time. And he didn’t want his mother to have to help him. He knew how hard his mother worked to take care of him, his twin sisters, and himself.
“Mom, you don’t have to give anything. Remember that Tracy and Katie’s birthdays are coming up soon and that you need to save money for a tea party?”
David had saved enough. He did it with the money he saved from the lemonade stand he set up last summer and his short morning paper route. He kept saving until one day his piggy bank was full and he had enough money to buy his dream shoes.
He couldn’t stop talking about it with Guillermo on the bus ride home from school that day.
“Guillermo! I did it! After I finish my homework this evening, I’m going straight to the store to buy the best shoes in town. In fact, I’ll come pick you up and take you to the shop with me. It will be the best feeling in the world!”
Guillermo felt genuine happiness for his idol. The bus jolted over a pothole at that moment, and one of Guillermo’s shoes fell to the floor.
David was shocked when he saw the old, blackened shoe. It was a pair of thin, cheap summer shoes that had been worn for too many summers. There were holes in the bottom, the canvas was coming apart, and there was no sign of a lace.
Guillermo gave in to his shame and let the other shoe drop.
When David looked at his friend, he had tears in his eyes. He hid his face in his hands and sobbed quietly but uncontrollably. For the rest of the ride, the two boys didn’t know what to say to each other.
“You need to be ready by 5!” David finally told Guillermo that they were going to the store that night. David could not go to the store by himself. Not after he saw what happened.
“Ah, David! You’re here to get your new soccer shoes. I’ve packed and prepared them right here.”
“Please wait, sir. Could you show me a smaller pair of those?” David pointed to a pair of comfortable boots and said.
Help those who are in need whenever you can.
Mr. Manning, who owned the shop, didn’t know what to do. “But, Dave, the ones I packed are exactly your size.”
“Not for me, for my friend here,” Dave replied.
Guillermo was shocked by what he had just heard. He had no way of letting David do that.
“I don’t need anything, David.”
David gently blinked and squeezed Guillermo’s hand to get him to stop talking. “I’ll take care of it, Guillermo. You call me your hero all the time. I’ll do my best to be one for you.”
When Mr. Manning heard the boys talking like this, he felt love and affection rise up in his chest. He was sure of what to do.
“Wow, friend, this looks great on you. And it’s the best thing we have in this shop.”
David was finally happy with the boots he bought for his friend. Guillermo’s shame had turned into shock, gratitude, and pure happiness because of the gift he hadn’t expected.
As the boys rode away from the store on their bikes, Mr. Manning let his staff know. “Listen, we need to do something right away…”
“David! There’s someone waiting for you at the door. He came with a whole truck, in fact.” Even David’s mother didn’t know what to make of the strange visitor.
David ran to the door and saw someone he knew. It was the owner of the shoe store, Mr. Manning. “Dave, I heard you and your friend talking at the store. “I’m aware of what you did.”
David’s mother leaned in, and a suspicious line formed on her forehead.
“I know how much you wanted those spiked shoes, and I’ve seen you sell lemonade and deliver newspapers. And today, I saw you give up all that want so you could help a friend who needed help more than you did.”
David lowered his head because he was shy. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw that his mother was proud.
“And I think that this kind of friendship and kindness should be honored in this day and age. So, let’s go! Get on this truck’s back and take as many pairs of shoes as you want. The twins, your mother, and you… Don’t worry about the money—I’ll pay for everything.”
David hesitated and looked at his mother to see if it was okay. As soon as she said “yes,” he ran as fast as he could toward the truck, his eyes shining with joy.
“Hurry up, we still need to get to your friend’s house. Everyone in his family gets free shoes, too!”