Awesome Story! A Good Samaritan with Shiny Shoes

This story from The Chicago Tribune is one of the best stories of manliness in action that I’ve come across in awhile. While big acts of courage like that of the Gorkha soldier are amazing, manliness is also about doing the right thing in the small, day to day decisions that we make.

Just like the way Dean Germeyer helped out Elsie Clark, a little old lady in distress.

Germeyer, 78, who has a bad hip and has to use a wheelchair when traveling, was returning home to Canada after visiting her family in Texas. An airport employee had caused her to miss her flight out of Dallas and then her next flight was delayed due to weather.

“I was so thirsty and hungry,” said Clark, who lives on a fixed income. “I felt absolutely deserted and I was scared because I kept thinking, ‘What is going to happen in Chicago if I miss my plane?’ I would have to sit on the hard airport bench all night.”

But as Clark looked down, trying to hold back tears, she noticed the polished shoes of a man sitting nearby.

“I wanted to talk to somebody to get my mind off things for a little while,” said Clark. Growing up poor, she said, her mother taught her that people who dressed well respected themselves and other people. “So, I said, ‘Sir, do you mind telling me what you do because I’ve always admired shiny shoes.’ “

Dean Germeyer, 43, who runs a technology consulting group in Chicago, did not mind at all.

Germeyer then took Clark under his wing. He arranged for a wheelchair to be ready for her when they landed in Chicago and when the plane touched down, he whisked her to her gate. But she still missed the plane; she would have to stay the night and the gate agent offered her a discounted rate on a hotel.

But Germeyer said he did not feel right leaving her.

“She is somebody’s grandmother,” Germeyer said. “And to slide this piece of paper across the desk and say, ‘Here is your voucher, good luck,’ when she hasn’t eaten, doesn’t have her luggage and doesn’t know Chicago … that really aggravated me.”

So Germeyer called his wife, Nina, who had dinner waiting at their Streeterville condo, and asked her to arrange an extra place setting.

“This is why I married Dean,” said Nina Germeyer, 41. “He couldn’t know that this little old lady was going to just sit at the airport all night while he went home and had a nice meal and a warm bed.”

But Germeyer did not stop there. After taking Clark to his condo, on the 55th floor of a building just off of Michigan Avenue, he took her on a brief city tour before putting her up in a suite at the Affinia Hotel next to his building.

Then he arranged for a car to take her back to the airport the next day.

“He even gave me a new toothbrush and toothpaste,” Clark said. “I just sat down when I got to the hotel and I cried and cried and cried. Everything he did for me was just so beautiful.”

Germeyer asked for nothing in return.

Dress well. Act with chivalry. Be a man!

Read the whole article on the Chicago Tribune.

Hat tip to Steve S. for the link.

{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Lj Lara February 15, 2011 at 3:34 pm

I truly feel this is what a man is about?

Peter Ryan February 15, 2011 at 3:37 pm

Now THIS is what I am talking about! Great actions Dean, a true gentleman!!

These are the sorts of actions I would like to encourage for all men, and International Be a Gentleman day (22 February) is a great day to celebrate these type of actions and to encourage more of.

Peter Ryan

Vir Beatum February 15, 2011 at 3:53 pm

Great aspirational story. It just goes to show, it’s no good shining your shoes up good if you’re not also good. A man that looks the part needs also to be the part. If dressing is an impetus to being, then may we all start taking a little more care with our appearance.

David February 15, 2011 at 5:22 pm

This is the kind of man I want my daughter to marry. I’d better set the example.

Betsy February 15, 2011 at 5:48 pm

There should be more men out there like this! What has happened to really being a man? I sometimes forget how lucky I am to have such wonderful men in my life, but it only takes a quick trip to the grocery store to be reminded that the majority of men have forgotten how to polish their shoes and take pride in being a man of honor. Thanks for sharing the story and thanks to all the good men out there.

Stephen February 15, 2011 at 5:49 pm

@Vir Beatum

Good point. The shiny shoes are just a bonus, what is really important here is that he is a truly decent man.

Great on him; that was a fantastic thing to do. We need more people like that in the world.

Adam February 15, 2011 at 5:55 pm

kudos to this man! (I tend to think that dressing well unnecessarily makes you look self-important, when you should be self-sacrificing)

Tony February 15, 2011 at 7:21 pm

Take pride in your appearance and take pride in who you are… Great story.

Thatcher February 15, 2011 at 7:42 pm

This man displayed that true love that is in each of us. Too bad that we learn each day to suppress that love. Imagine what a society we would have if we would only stand up and help the person next to us.

Charles Parrish February 15, 2011 at 8:32 pm

The compassion exemplified by Germeyer’s actions sets a high bar of excellence that I aspire to achieve. Thank you, Mr. Germeyer, for setting an example for men everywhere, and thank you, Brett, for sharing this awesome story of manliness.

PS: The line, “Germeyer, 78, who has a bad hip…” should read, “Clark, 78, who has a bad hip…”

Charles Garris February 16, 2011 at 8:34 am

I can understand why Mr.Germeyer acted as he did. He was responding to this lady’s plight with the Divine Mercy in his heart & soul – the same Divine Mercy that
created the annual commerative project: “Cicely’s Strollers” for women visiting the CentroTepeyac problem pregnancy center in Silver Spring, MD – honoring my late wife.. God Bless Mr. Germeyer.

Goldy February 16, 2011 at 12:30 pm

This is what being a man is all about. A lot of times, “being manly” is taken as this complicated skill. What it truly comes down to is doing to right thing. Whether you’re a hell of a nice guy helping an old lady out, or putting your life on the line for someone else, you must do the right thing if you want to call yourself a man.

toby March 25, 2011 at 9:02 pm

I can understand where the train of thought is about shiny shoes could be linked to being a gentleman. I live in the country, more specifically in the county next to a medium sized city and consider myself to be a gentleman. My boots are usually unshined and all leather not coducive to being shined. I’m gonna pull the “can’t judge a book by its cover” card. With all that being said, I do not want to detract from all the good things the man done for the lady traveler. Kudos to you sir. Let all men take note.

toby March 25, 2011 at 9:06 pm

Pardon me everyone, “conducive” and my apologies concerning the last post.

Joe July 24, 2012 at 11:42 pm

I <3 boogers

person June 6, 2014 at 8:16 pm

Great story, absolutely lovely, awesome job Dean. =)

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