Snap the Rag for a Tip -A good story!

After my presentation for the Greater Detroit Area Health Council at the Westin Hotel in Southfield MI, I passed an impressive shoe-shining stand. I wanted to sit upon that throne before taking a cab back to the airport for my next lecture in Birmingham AL. After changing into jeans and the leather cowboy boots I was wearing for my evening activities in the south, I was prepared to jump up into one of those large leather upholstered seats with curved wooden armrests. The shoe-shiner stopped me and placed his sturdy shoe-shining box at my feet for a smooth step up to the throne.
I didn’t pull out my cell phone to make use of the time. I began a conversation with Ricky. He’d been shinning shoes for almost 32 years. His friend died recently and his friend’s wife wanted to get rid of everything in the garage. Ricky and his buddy bought all the items for $500. The buddy took the dining room set and sofa to furnish the new apartment he moved into with his girlfriend, while Ricky got the shoe-shining throne that had been collecting dust in the garage for 16 years.
Ricky set up the throne at the hotel. In exchange for offering the service, they gave him the space. He worked there everyday from 7-7. One of his regular customers, a lawyer with a nearby office, suggested he strip the black paint off the arm rests because it seemed that the original wood was worth restoring. It was not an ordinary Oak, but a unique oak wood that was hidden by the black paint. In addition, Ricky had the seats re-upholstered. The upholsterer offered him $10,000 for the throne, but Ricky knew if he was offering that, it was probably worth double. Smart man!
For the final shine, Ricky drew the cloth masterfully over the toe of my boot, making a sharp popping noise on every other stroke. “That noise is pretty fancy, how do you do it?” I inquired. He explained it was a flip of the wrist. “Do you need to do that for a good shine?” I asked. He explained that in the old days, if you didn’t ‘Snap the Rag’ you didn’t get a tip.
He charged $9 for boots. I gave him a $4 tip for the entertaining rag-snapping.

By |2016-10-14T15:18:20+00:00July 5th, 2012|Storytelling|0 Comments

About the Author:

How many speakers leave you with memorable life lessons, motivating a life-perspective adjustment, a catalyst for real change? As a professional interactive performance artist, I have stage presence, charisma, a deep vibrant voice, and a message worth your time. I'm too busy to waste my time or yours with talk that cannot be applied personally and professionally in an immediate way. I performed ‘A Story NOT Silenced by Oral Cancer’ Off-Broadway in New York City to a sold-out audience, I founded the Six-Step Screening™ oral cancer awareness campaign, authored two books: ‘Mr. C Plays Hide & Seek’ and ‘Mr. C the Globetrotter,’ to empower children with coping skills and communication strategies when someone they love has cancer, and created ‘My Story Legacy,’ a creative format to document family stories, life values and wisdom for future generations. Share this link with friends/colleagues who participate in conferences in need of a speaker who will rock the house!

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