These are not Sneakers

These are a communication device.

Meet my very rare—and fashionably "boss"—snake-skin Vans. That's what we call "winning."

Meet Bob Hankin—design instructor, designer, newbie graf king, and my colleague in the Omaha creative community. Bob and I have one more thing in common; a desire to hunt, bag and rock the finest of kicks.

Most know my affinity for fine footwear of the rubber-bottomed variety. Sneakers (please keep up). Most also know of my fondness for frequenting establishements of the roasted brew pursuasion. Coffee shops (pace, keep pace, please). So the scene for this story is set.

Bob and I have met, glad-handed, waxed about design and sneakers many times over since meeting a few years ago. During a particular week this past July, we both found ourselves in need of a nomadic creative existence and co-habitating at a particular coffee establishment. Seeing that we'd be seeing each other all week, we took the time to start each morning off with a good chat that had no specific purpose or meaning but to be cordial and ease into our design days. The week passed and we went our ways, back to the level of communication we had previous to our creative coffee sequestering. Or so I thought.

About a week later I got a text message from Bob saying very simply, "I found them. Sz 12 right?" Uh, yeah… but huh?! You see, Bob was traveling and had stopped at a street-wear shop in search of special threads and treads. But he had found them… for me. This pair of rare and near impossible-to-find sneakers. Providing me with the info, I called the shop and set up the shipping, but at an additional fee. So I politely texted Bob and asked if he had time and space to cop them for me and transport them back like the priceless package they were? He didn't hesitate. He went back to the shop, put them in his carry-on and found himself sitting outside the very same coffee shop where we had previously convened, waiting on me to take delivery. These are not sneakers, these are a communication device.

Bob didn't have to talk to me. Bob didn't have to listen to the details. Bob didn't have to put himself out there, carrying another person's obsession in a bag and trusting that the person would pay for the item. Bob did all of this and still didn't ask for any extra for doing so. A simple handshake and another half-hour conversation about design, work and the creative community in Omaha.

Take the time. Pay attention. Don't be closed off to the possibility that there is more to the people we deal with and work with everyday besides fonts, Pantones and the latest issues with our iPhones. You could be missing out on something rare and near priceless.