Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Turkish Shoeshine Man

On one of our walks at night through the streets of Istanbul, not far from our hotel, we passed a shoeshine man, carrying the tools of his trade as he headed home at the end of the day. As he turned the corner, a brush fell off his kit and landed on the sidewalk pavement. I picked it up and called out to the man, and he came back to claim his brush.

The man was so thankful and quickly set down his kit on the sidewalk and insisted on giving me a shoeshine in expression of his gratitude for my returning his brush. As it was raining, there was no point in getting a shoeshine, so I turned my back and pulled Jodie along as we headed up the street.

Jodie said that I had caused the man to lose face, as I hadn't returned the favor, and for quite some time that night I felt bad about leaving the shoeshine man in the rain, calling out after me.

But awhile later, when we were nearing our hotel, we passed another shoeshine man heading home for the night. As he turned the corner, a brush fell off his kit onto the pavement right ahead of us. This time we didn't bother to pick up the brush and fall for the trick.

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