After Hurricane Charley, These Shoes Were Made for Talking

Palm_tree

photo thanks to AndonicO

I have yet to meet a woman who doesn’t love shoes. In Terry’s case, the quest for a pair of sandals also led to a meaningful encounter.

It was summer of 2004, soon after Hurricane Charley, the strongest hurricane to hit southwest Florida since 1960.  After wreaking havoc in the Caribbean, Charley hit landfall on the peninsula and devasted much of Port Charlotte.

Sarasota, where Terry lived and worked, had been spared. As do most of us when tragedy occurs, we feel saddened for those affected and grateful we weren’t among them.  But we go on with our lives. Terry went on with her busy life as a mom of three and part-time server at a restaurant. She was on her feet much of the day, often in a cute and comfortable pair of sandals trimmed with palm trees. Terry says, “I couldn’t go anywhere without someone commenting on my awesome sandals.”

Heading to her local Sears to purchase another pair, she was disappointed to learn that store no longer stocked them.  “I was so determined to have another pair that, out of the blue, i drove all the way to the Port Charlotte Mall.”  The 45-mile drive paid off.

Terry found another pair of palm tree-trimmed sandals. Still in the shoe department, rejoicing over her purchase, Terry spotted an employee who appeared on the verge of tears. She approached her and asked what was wrong.

“She must have sensed my genuine concern,” Terry says, “because she poured out her very sad story of all she had lost in the hurricane.” The department was quiet, and the two women spoke for about half an hour. After, Terry says, this formerly distressed woman managed a smile. Terry could see relief on her face. “I don’t remember what I said. Whatever it was must have been what she needed to hear. I think I gave her hope.”

Terry drove home on a high fueled by the chance to make a difference. “It was clear why I went so far to buy a silly pair of shoes. I had to get to Port Charlotte and be the shoulder this woman needed at that moment. I’m always happy when God calls me to serve.”

Thankfully, Florida has reached the end of what proved a mild hurricane season. We never reach the end of the season to help others.

(Have a good Godsign story?  Even if it’s not weather related, blow me away by sharing it.)

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