Fiction: Red-Purple Boots at Work

Anurag Sharma

- Anurag Sharma

The announcement was loud and clear. Everyone heard his name unequivocally. The crowd applauded as they welcomed him. He was greeted by the company's chairperson, who said, "Here comes the employee of the year."

He had a long road to travel in order to go from "Mr. Nobody" to "The Employee of the Year," He never imagined it would ever happen.

Just a few months back he was invisible. Almost non-existent. Regardless of the issues he resolved, the amount of money the business saved as a result, or the size of the sale that resulted from his efforts.

He received no acknowledgement.

Everyone else around him got appreciation letters, rewards, gifts, bouquets, smiles, pay raises, promotions, handshakes, and embraces... and he? He never got nothing. No appreciation, not even criticism. As if he was invisible. He didn't exist. Nobody ever saw him. He felt like a transparent sheet of glass. People could see through him without ever seeing him, 

Day by day, he sat alone on his desk and went out alone for lunch and coffee.

But then, something strange happened...

It was December. The day before Christmas. It started snowing.  Hungry, and sad, he was in a hurry to go grab something to eat.

He was contemplating  his life and feeling depressed about how useless he was. This is when the teenager came over to him.

"Need to buy food, five bucks, please, I am hungry..., can you get me something?"

He paused and had a look at the teenager. The kid didn't look poor or homeless. On the contrary, he appeared affluent. From his glasses to his shoes, everything on him was expensive. He had an iwatch on his wrist and a backpack. 

"As a matter of principal, I buy only vegetarian food," he said with an intention to get rid of the pest.

"I love salad. Not a coincidence that we are in front of a salad bar."

"OK," he said reluctantly. 

They had good lunch. While they were waiting for the bill, he went to the restroom. When he came back, he found a shoebox on the table. The boy was gone. The waiter told him that the boy had paid the bill and left the shoebox for him.

He was shocked when he opened the box and discovered a pair of red-purple boots inside.

He wanted a pair of red-purple boots when he was in fourth grade. At the time, boys didn't often wear purple, and his parents didn't have the money to get him a new pair of shoes. He therefore missed out on those at the crucial time. Slowly, the desire subsided. Up until this point, he had entirely forgotten about it.

He searched the restaurant for the boy, perplexed. He ran out of the restaurant carrying the box with him to find the boy who wasn't there anywhere.

He didn't go back to work that day. Instead, he brought the shoebox home and tried on the perfectly fitting shoes.

Next day at work, he was a little anxious that people might notice his red-purple boots. And indeed, that's exactly what happened. Ann noticed him first. She praised the shoes. When other coworkers overheard Ann speaking, they crowded around them and began to converse.

He wore his new red-purple boots to work the following day as well. This time, more people took note of him. He attained celebrity status in a matter of days. All of them desired to be his friends.

He never looked back since. He won employee of the month award twice this year, and now he is the employee of the year.

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