Friday, September 7, 2018

A Pair of Shoes

It began two years ago or so. A kid shot some hoops in the gym as he waited for his father to pick him up. A custodian pushed a broom on the court cleaning it as part of his duties. The two began to talk.

It continued the rest of the year. “Hello!” “How are you doing?” A casual acquaintance. Friendly. Kind. Considerate. Always a smile. Always a “Goodbye!” from the kid. Always a “Have a nice day! God Bless you!” from the custodian.

The two didn’t see much of one another last year, but when they did, it was a resumption of what had taken place the previous year. Friendly conversation, a handshake, maybe a hug. All smiles. Always the kindness and always the consideration given to each other.

Tristan is now a senior. At one time a three-sport athlete, now just an excellent baseball player who will be playing at the collegiate level next year. Still friendly, still kind, now a young man.

Tristan found out that Angel, the custodian, was married and had four kids. Not at all wealthy, by any standard. But always hardworking. Always friendly. Always with a smile and a kind word.

Tristan likes and collects shoes. He buys and sells them when he doesn’t wear them any longer. Wanting to do something nice for Angel, Tristan took a picture of some of the shoes in his closet. He showed them to Angel and pretended that he was going to buy a pair and asked Angel which pair he should purchase. Angel suggested the Jordan 8s. Tristan asked Angel if he had them, and Angel responded with a laugh, “I have four kids. I don’t have time to buy things for myself.”

Tristan knew that Angel wore the same size shoe as he did- a size 8. So Tristan went home and told his mom that he’d like to give Angel his pair of Jordan 8s, and his mother told him that was a nice idea. So Tristan placed them in a shoe box and after lunch yesterday, he and a friend sought Angel out and Tristan presented him with the box.

The reaction would melt the coldest and hardest of hearts. Tristan’s friend captured it on video and Tristan posted it to the school’s Twitter page: @shstribepride and It’s worth a watch. It will be shown on NBC 4 either this afternoon or evening, maybe tomorrow. Not sure. A great story about an unlikely friendship between a student and a custodian.

When asked why he did it, Tristan explained with a shy smile, “I thought it would be nice. I know he can’t afford them.” Pressed a little further, Tristan explained that he posted the video hoping that others would follow along and do something kind for someone else. He sees himself as a role model and wants others to be also.

Then he said something pretty remarkable and rather insightful. He said, “You don’t just learn from teachers. You can learn from anyone.”

If you’re not smiling by now, I have no words. If your heart isn’t a little mushy by now, I don’t know what else to say to you.

A young man . . . a pair of shoes . . . a custodian. A kid shooting a basketball killing time until his father picked him up. A gentle man pushing a broom doing more than his job, I think.

And . . .

The idea, the hope, that others might follow his lead and do something nice for someone. That anyone can be a role model and a mentor. That it isn’t just teachers you can learn from. Maybe a kid with a kind, gentle heart can teach us, remind us about something other than ourselves. He reminded me. Maybe taught me, too. Something to think about . . .

Live Your Life, and Make A Difference!

To My Readers:

In addition to my book, Caught in a Web, interest in my other four novels has increased. I think because of the critical acclaim Caught in a Web has received. Currently, it’s sitting at #18 on the Online Book Club’s List of Best Selling Books and is #3 in Crime-Thriller-Mystery on that same list. And after 8 Months, Caught in a Web is still on Best Thrillers list of Best Thrillers of the Year. I’m humbled and pretty darn pleased.

So thanks to them and to all who have taken a chance on reading Caught in a Web. If you are interested in a copy on either Kindle or in Paperback, you can find it on Amazon  or on Barnes and Noble at

And if you do give Caught in a Web a shot, please leave a rating and a review. I would appreciate it. Thanks for this consideration!

Caught in a Web:
The bodies of high school and middle school kids are found dead from an overdose of heroin and fentanyl. The drug trade along the I-94 and I-43 corridors and the Milwaukee Metro area is controlled by MS-13, a violent gang originating from El Salvador. Ricardo Fuentes is sent from Chicago to Waukesha to find out who is cutting in on their business, shut it down and teach them a lesson. But he has an ulterior motive: find and kill a fifteen-year-old boy, George Tokay, who had killed his cousin the previous summer.

Detectives Jamie Graff, Pat O’Connor and Paul Eiselmann race to find the source of the drugs, shut down the ring, and find Fuentes before he kills anyone else, especially George or members of his family. The three detectives discover the ring has its roots in a high school among the students and staff.

Book One, Stolen Lives:
Two thirteen year old boys are abducted off a safe suburban street. Kelliher and his team of FBI agents have 24 hours to find them or they’ll end up like all the others- dead! They have no leads, no clues, and nothing to go on. And the possibility exists that one of his team members might be involved.   

Book Two, Shattered Lives:
Six men escaped and are out for revenge. The boys, recently freed from captivity, are in danger and so are their families, but they don’t know it. The FBI has no clues, no leads, and nothing to go on and because of that, cannot protect them.   

Book Three of the Lives Trilogy, Splintered Lives:
A 14 year old boy knows the end is coming. What he doesn’t know is when, where or by whom. Without that knowledge, neither he nor the FBI can protect him or his family.

The Lives Trilogy Prequel, Taking Lives:
FBI Agent Pete Kelliher and his partner search for the clues behind the bodies of six boys left in various and remote parts of the country. Even though they don’t know one another, the lives of FBI Kelliher, 11 year old Brett McGovern, and 11 year old George Tokay are separate pieces of a puzzle. The two boys become interwoven with the same thread that Pete Kelliher holds in his hand. The three of them are on a collision course and when that happens, their lives are in jeopardy as each search for a way out.

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Twitter at @jrlewisauthor

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