Fran, a friend of ours, had gone to a week-long business conference in a major city. When she got there, she realized that she hadn’t packed her navy pumps — a key component of several outfits she had brought to wear.
At the end of the first day of meetings, she went to the mall attached to her hotel to buy some navy pumps. She tried on several pair, but kept going back to a really attractive pair that were way more than she wanted to spend ($200) and were way “sexier” than she usually wore, with their stiletto heels.
Fran was walking back and forth in the “cool” shoes to see how they felt (they were surprisingly comfortable; that must be what $200 buys you — sexy and comfortable), then walking over to the mirror to comfirm again how great they looked, all the while debating the purchase. As she was doing her “parading and debating,” two men walked by and the very tall black man said to her, “Lady, those are great looking shoes. You ought to buy them.” They then walked on, before she had time to do more than catch a glimpse of the speaker and grunt an acknowledgement to his comment.
A couple minutes later, she was still trying to decide, and the men walked by again. This time the tall man stopped long enough to say again, with more emphasis, “LADY, those shoes are great! You’re crazy if you don’t buy them!” She responded with something like, “Yeah, but they’re also $200, so I’m trying to decide if they’re that great.” All the while looking at the shoes, and not at the guy. He confirmed his opinion that they definitely were and walked on.
Well, she’d debated long enough, and the unsolicited opinion from the stranger, had influenced her decision. If that guy thought they were that great looking, her husband would probably like them too, even with the somewhat salty price tag. So she bought them and headed back to the hotel.
She got on the escalator and immediately noticed a group of people clustered around the bottom of it. What were they doing? They were all looking up her way — were they looking at her? No, they were looking past her. As she got further down the escalator the murmur from the group at the bottom got louder and she could hear that they were talking about “autographs” and ”picture with him,” and now it was obvious that they were looking at someone behind her on the escalator.
Fran glanced over her shoulder and there further up the escalator were the two men she had seen when she was buying her shoes. And the very tall black man, who had encouraged her to buy the shoes, was acknowledging the fans at the bottom of the escalator — it was Shaquille O’Neil.
When Fran told us this story, she said she calls those shoes her “Shaq shoes” – definitely ”A Pair to Remember.”