Laceless, the shoe's tongue fell to the side and begged for moisture. Its leather skin had gashes and scars and cracks and tears and wrinkles and weathering. Its sole's stitches were torn so that it was only half connected to the shoe. The front part of the sole hung down and seemed to form a mouth. The eyelets, without their laces, seemed to form, well, eyes.
And all of that made the shoe look so sad and worn and abandoned that Allister said aloud, "Who would do such a thing?"
Allister crossed the road and crouched down to the shoe. He meant to ask it his question. But, a thought sprang into his mind that stopped him short of speaking. A memory. He remembered that old addage, "Do not judge someone until you've walked a mile in their shoes."
So, Allister took off one of his shoes and set it down on the side of the road. And he set his foot in the abandoned one.
He took a moment to adjust his foot to the new surrounding and began walking.
And he continued walking. For a mile. And more. And more. Even more. And more.
Having lost track of time and distance (which he was apt to do), Allister walked over familiar and unfamiliar terrain. He kicked things and tapped things with his shoe. And he walked.
But, eventually, the sun went down (which it was apt to do) and Allister stopped. e had no idea of who the shoe's former owner was, what they looked like, or how he could possibly find them. But, Allister could certianly say that he knew how their feet must have felt. And, by the end of his walk, he had come to one definite conclusion: An addendum needed to be made to that old addage.
"Do not judge someone until you've walked a mile in their shoes. And, once you have walked that mile, do not just leave the shoe/s. That's cruel and, in some places, even against the littering laws." It made the addage longer, no doubt. But, it also made it a complete system that cleaned up after itself.
And Allister set out that evening to tell everyone the new saying.
But, first, he walked miles back to retrieve his own abandoned shoe. .