The family walked the trail early in the day. They were leaving when I arrived for my shift.
The man of the family was carrying a toddler. The boy was wearing only one shoe, a sandal decorated in a Spide-Man motif. The man removed the shoe from the boy’s foot and walked over to the garbage can. While I watched, he lifted the lid and deposited the shoe in the trash.
I must have given him an inquisitive look because the man shrugged and said the kid had lost his other shoe somewhere on the trail. I suppose it was easier for the dad to toss the remaining shoe than to retrace his steps on the trail to look for the lost one. Presumably, the child had more shoes at home or the family could afford to buy him a new pair.
How does a person (even a tiny person) lose only one shoe? Maybe he’d kicked off the shoe while a parent was carrying him, but why had he kept the other one? Life is mysterious.
Later that day, a large extended family came off the trail. A small family (mom, dad, toddler) was part of the big family. The dad was holding a sandal decorated in a Spider-Man motif.
They’d found this shoe on the trail the man said. Did we have a lost and found?
I explained how the shoe had been lost earlier in the day and its mate had been left in our garbage can.
The man said he thought the sandal would fit his son. He asked if I minded if he dug the discarded shoe out of the trash.
I love dumpster diving and otherwise acquiring perfectly good cast-off items. I didn’t see anything strange or gross or wrong with rescuing the shoe from the trash. I told the man to be my guest.
He poked around in the garbage can and found the sandal close to the top. It had been a slow trash day, and the shoe hadn’t gotten dirty.
The toddler was excited about his new Spider-Man sandals. I guess one kid’s Spider-Man shoes trash is another kid’s Spider-Man shoes treasure.