Jake Kuehl and Peter Matter

Kind Stranger Buys Shoes for a Special Olympics Athlete

Jake Kuehl and Peter Matter had never met before, but they’ll always remember each other.

Jake Kuehl and Peter MatterEarlier this week, Jake Kuehl and his family went to the mall after work.

Kuehl said he noticed a man looking at a shoe store for a long time. That man was 53-year-old Peter Matter. Matter is an athlete with Special Olympics.

Read the rest of this lovely story below which was extracted from Jake’s Facebook wall:

“I made a new friend today.

We met at the mall.

He had been doing some window shopping, and found a pair of shoes he REALLY liked. Unfortunately, like many people today, he couldn’t afford the shoes; so after one last peer through the window he moved along, stealing one last look over his shoulder as they faded out of sight.

I had been watching him stare at these shoes for what had to have been five or ten minutes (I was at the playland with my family). When he walked by me I noticed his shoes were in the worst condition, I could see his socks through large holes, his laces were torn, the soles were worn out.

I caught up with the gentleman and asked him if he liked the shoes he was just looking at. He told me he really liked them, he looks at them every time he’s at the mall. I said to him “What do you say we go in the store and get them?”

He thought for a minute and said “well I don’t think that’s a good idea, I don’t have very much money.”

I told him, “We aren’t going to worry about money today; let’s go get you a pair of shoes, your shoes are looking a bit worn out.”

In an instant his sadness turned to happiness, think of a young kid on Christmas morning

We walked side by side in to the store, and this store was HUGE! We found a worker and I said “Can you help this man find the pair of shoes he likes?”

I found out the man LOVES bright colors: green, yellow, red, blue. Everything bright caught his attention. I made sure we found shoes that would last a while, who knows the next time he’s going to get a new pair of shoes.

Once we found a pair the man liked, we found his size and tried them on. When he was tying the laces he didn’t do the typical “bunny ears” method of tying his shoes. I can’t really describe how he did it but he said it’s the best way to tie shoes because the knot never comes undone. Who knew there was more than one way to tie your shoelaces!

Since the man was happy with his selection, he put them in the box and said he was ready to go. I was quick to tell the man that he didn’t have to wear his old shoes anymore and to put his new shoes on.

When we were checking out the man was telling me he is really involved in the Special Olympics and his new shoes are really going to make a difference in his softball event. He also told me it didn’t hurt to walk any more.

Once we checked out and left the store, the man gave me a hug and told me “thank you very much”

I never asked for my friend’s name, and I never gave him mine. I don’t want him to remember that Jake gave him shoes, I want him to know that people are nice, that people have a heart, and that people are willing to help each other out.

You have no idea how happy it made me to give this man a new pair of shoes. When was the last time he had a nice new pair of shoes? When was the last time anybody did something for him out of the kindness of their heart?

If you’re having a bad day, don’t sit home and feel bad for yourself, don’t call your friends and bitch about your boss, or whatever it is making you upset. Get up, go out, and do something for somebody. There’s no better feeling. If you’re having a good day, make it an even better day! I promise you’ll never feel bad about helping another person.

There’s one reason I’m posting this. It’s not to brag or pretend that I’ve got a lot of money (because I certainly don’t). It’s to show you that anybody can be generous, anybody can help, and if I can motivate ONE person to donate food to a food bank, read a book at a children’s hospital or library, visit a nursing home to play cards for a few hours, buy a child the toy they’ve always wanted, or even buy somebody in need a new pair of shoes… well then I’ve succeeded!

So instead of going out to eat, instead of buying a new videogame, or going out to the bar, or going to the movies… try being nice to a random stranger! You just might make a new friend…

Jake Kuehl and Peter MatterRandom acts of Kindness like this are so inspiring. Well done, Jake.


  1. If more people would do this the world would be such a better place! Living life by PAY IT FORWARD is awesome. When people truly get it they understand that yes you are blessing someone, But you also receive a tremendous blessing as you see the joy that the person has. Thank you for sharing this amazing story.


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