Community Highlight: The Shoes Off My Feet, A Homeless Man & CrossFit 740

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May 25, 2022

Last week, the CrossFit community was buzzing about a selfless act that took place at an affiliate in Ohio. After a homeless man approached the open garage door at CrossFit 740 in Lancaster, owner Dustin Lansing gave him the shoes off his own feet as well as a second pair he had at the gym. CrossFit 740 athlete Jami McClure was the first to speak with the man and approached Lansing about the shoes. BoxLife had a chance to chat with her about the fateful event.

Jami, how did this exchange come about?
“Several of us were waiting for class to begin and there was some time between classes because the workout happened to be a little shorter this particular day. I was standing near the garage door and noticed a man walking down the road, which is a pretty busy road in our town.

He looked over at me and waved and I waved back, which is just my nature because I just love people and have a special empathy for those who struggle. But anyway, he approached the garage door and said hi and asked if anyone had any shoes.

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What made you feel compelled to make sure he came away with a pair of shoes?
We talked about the shoes he had on his feet, which were flip flops he said he found in a dumpster, and they were huge on him. I asked him his size, and he told me 10 1/2. I was prepared to give him my shoes from my gym bag, but they were too small. A couple other people also said they would, but their shoes were also too small. This class is mostly ladies! One fellow member was getting ready to go to the thrift store across the street to buy him a pair of shoes. We have awesome members. So I went to the counter where Coach Dustin was working on his laptop… I had a feeling Dustin was around his size and likely had some shoes available there. Without hesitation Dustin took the shoes off his own feet. I told him that wasn’t my intention, for him to take his own shoes. He shrugged and grabbed another pair and walked over gave him the shoes. He chatted with him and the man was very thankful and asked for a bag. Dustin went and found a bag, helped the man get the shoes on and put the other shoes in the bag. While Dustin was getting the bag the man was tearful and thankful and said he felt like God told him to stop and ask for shoes. I was touched by that because I personally have a deep faith. Dustin had no idea I was snapping pictures and this was in no way set up. Dustin mentioned to me later that this man had stopped by before and asked him if he could clean the parking lot for some money and Dustin helped him then too… He then began class and I told the class what he had done, and we all clapped. He shrugged it off and moved on. He didn’t want to be recognized for it. He said every human should treat other humans this way. I agree.

Your post about this got a lot of shares (including CrossFit HQ)! Why do you think this resonated so much in the CrossFit community?
I did ask him if I could do a post on it and he didn’t even know I had taken picture. He said sure.

We were both absolutely shocked at what has happened. Countless people have reached out to us both, some even offering to send Dustin shoes. Dustin has asked that shoes be donated in his name to someone who needs them. It’s actually crazy to us that this has reached as far as it has. We both just assumed that if someone needs shoes people would give them shoes. We both wish that was the norm in our world. We talked again the next day and felt a little embarrassed by all of the “publicity.” We both agreed that if this kept one negative news story out of the news it was worth it. We also hope this encourages others to do simple acts of kindness and treat all people well. This has also started an initiative at our gym to collect shoes and other items and somehow distribute them to those in need. We are using an upcoming event that will be hosted at our gym to collect.

We just want good to come out of it. I have been part of the CrossFit community for three-and-a-half years and love the people and the hearts of the people at our gym and I feel that is probably a common theme among all CrossFit gyms. I think people crave positive stories since we are inundated with negative and I just think this struck a chord for some reason.

CrossFit 740 is hosting its annual Gobbler Games four-person team competition on Nov. 3. They are asking that participants and spectators bring in extra shoes to donate to the homeless in the Lancaster and Fairfield County, Ohio area. 

About William Imbo

William Imbo is an Associate Editor at BoxLife magazine, CrossFit Level 1 Trainer and holds an MPS in Sports Industry Management from Georgetown University. He is an avid CrossFitter and loves film, music and travel, thanks to having grown up across Europe. A fan of the New Orleans Saints and Newcastle United, Will's favorite CrossFit girl is Helen-least favorite being Isabel.

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