Missing pair of shoes results in special customer service

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Editor: In this past month I wanted some help with a difficult situation. My husband Bill had to be taken to the hospital, and in the course of the travel  from home to hospital, his only pair of shoes went missing. A couple of exhaustive searches verified that the shoes were definitely missing. To date, the shoes have not been found.

When the folks from physiotherapy wanted my husband to start some intensive physiotherapy for his physical problems, they said he needed shoes.

Then, it was necessary to know his shoe size and how to fit shoes since he obviously couldn’t easily go to the shoe store. This presented a problem that needed a definite liberal solution. I wanted a person who could do the sizing and help me find good, solid replacement shoes, and do it at the hospital.

I called an athletic shoe store and explained the situation and asked if a person who routinely helps customers with shoe fittings come with me to the hospital with a few pairs of shoes, and help with fittings for my husband.

I was informed that this store did not do external shoe fittings. Instead they suggested that I estimate the shoe size, and buy a couple pairs of shoes in those sizes, and take those to try on for proper fitting. This was not an acceptable and seemed like a clumsy solution since I know nothing about fitting shoes for other people.

So I called the next store on the list of shoe stores, and asked to speak to the store manager. I ended up speaking to James Maher at Sports Chek.

I explained the situation of the lost shoes, and the difficulties my husband had with walking, and asked if it would be possible to have  someone from their staff help me get proper shoes for my husband.

“When do you want to do this?” Mr. Maher asked.

“As soon as possible,” I replied.

Maher said, “I can be ready when you get here.”

So within the next 10 minutes I was at the store, and walked in just as Mr. Maher finished packing a hockey bag full of potential shoes that might work and a shoe-sizing machine. As he zipped up the hockey bag, he asked, “Are you ready to go?”

We got to the hospital and went directly to my husband’s room. At the same time physiotherapy professionals had arrived. I announced there would be a bit of a delay in my husband’s therapy as he was being fitted for proper shoes.

Not surprisingly, a small crowd gathered to watch.

Mr. Maher went to work with fitting the shoes. A few minutes later he called the store, and I heard him say, “Check to see if we have shoe such and such in a half size too. We do? Great. We will be back in a few minutes. Would you set a pair out for my customer here at the hospital.”

The shoes designated by Mr. Maher were a perfect fit. My husband was able to do his physiotherapy more easily with shoes.

Throughout this entire experience, I was and still am thoroughly amazed at Mr. Maher’s high level of consideration and willingness to help with getting shoes for my husband, and ensuring that the shoes fit properly without requiring him to come to the store or for me trying to do a shoe fitting.

Mr. Maher’s attention to detail, helping two customers; my husband and me, is more than a business-like approach.

He went beyond the ordinary handling of a situation and was an active part in finding a solution.

This is a way to recognize him and to all business folks out there who are willing to take their professional expertise and use it in places and situations that call for special attention. Mr. Maher knows this makes a difficult situation one that has solutions and that the customer has received the best from that business.

Bravo James Maher. Hopefully your leadership in customer relations will become a model for other businesses as well.

Sandra Jones Ireland,


Organizations: Sports Chek

Geographic location: Charlottetown

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