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Nike Shoes & Lai See

Featured on the Hong Kong Economic Journal (March 21, 2015)

One cold winter in Milwaukee, Frank Daily had just finished his long day at school. He carried his heavy backpack and trudged to the bus stop to wait for his bus to get home. It hadn’t been a good day for him as he had just lost in a school basketball game. He used to be the star basketball player in his school but when he moved to his new school, he struggled to play as well as the others. He got onto the bus and slouched in his seat, kicking the seat in front of him in frustration.

The bus moved ahead and picked up more passengers who were happy to hide from the cold by finding warmth on the bus. Passengers piled onto the bus and rubbed their hands together to generate heat. The doors closed and then moved onto the next destination.

Then the bus arrived at the stop near the park. The doors pulled open and then a very pregnant lady pulled herself onto the bus. She fell backwards on the seat in front of the bus driver and Frank saw that she didn’t have any shoes on. The bus driver noticed as well and then loudly asked the lady “Where are your shoes, lady?”

The lady replied “I don’t have shoes. I have 8 children and I managed to get them all shoes but there isn’t enough for me. It’s okay though, God will take care of me”

As Frank heard this, he looked down at his Nike shoes. He contrasted them to the worn down stockings the lady had on and imagined how cold she must be feeling. Frank’s feet were cold even with shoes on so he couldn’t imagine how cold hers must be. And as he thought about it, he knew what he had to do.

He slowly pulled his shoes off his feet and kept them under his seat. When he reached his destination, he slipped out of his seat, carrying his shoes in his hands. He walked up to the lady and said “Here, you need these more than me. Please take them” as he passed her his shoes. Then he walked off the bus – shoeless - onto the cold ground. But he didn’t even notice that his feet were cold as his heart was filled with warmth.

He turned around to look back at the woman, just long enough to see her beam with a smile and exclaim “See! They fit me perfectly. I knew God would take care of me”

The story above may seem like a fictional story but it isn’t. Frank Daily was 14 when this incident took place and his story was caught by the local paper. He later went to study Spanish and Politics in University. *

And stories of young people making a difference don’t just happen on the other side of the world. Just today, one of my 10-year-old students talked about what she was going to do with her lai see money. She shared that she knows that she is so lucky to have all the things that she has and that there are people in this world who don’t even have enough food to eat, let alone have the privileges she has like going to school, having a phone or being able to go on holiday. So every year, she collects her lai see money and gives a portion to a charity of choice.

It’s great to start teaching children from young age the ‘3S Principle’:

  • Spend – there are things that they will want to spend time, money, energy on

  • Save – there are things they will want to save up for, whether it’s a short-term goal like buying a favourite toy or book; or a long-term goal of saving up for future education

  • Share – sharing money, food, toys or other belongings with others

All the 3 Ss are important and it’s never too early to apply the principle. But out of the 3, sharing is often the most difficult, but most rewarding.

So whether it’s Nike shoes or lai see money, sharing a blessing – to the giver and the receiver. Think of something you can share with others today.

This story is taken from ‘Kids with Courage: True Stories about Young People Making a Difference’ by Barbara A. Lewis


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