Slim Simpson: make 'em shine - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Slim Simpson: make 'em shine

by Sunny Layne

WATERLOO (KWWL) -- When you have a shine on your shoes, you seem to have a spring in your step.

One man understands that feeling well, because he's been supplying it to customers for 60 years.

Albert "Slim" Simpson is someone you should know.

When people bring their scuffed and dirty shoes to Slim Simpson, they get more than a polish.

"I don't care where they come from or what their shoes look like, I'm gonna make 'em shine," Simpson said. "This is the way I used to do this way back in the '40s."

At the Ramada Inn in downtown Waterloo, customers take a trip back in time.

"He's doing an art that's kind of dying,"customer Brent Richmond said.

"I guarantee if I don't shine shoes to suit him, he don't pay," Simpson said.

"How does he treat customers?" Richmond said, "With dignity and respect."

Along with the buffing and the gloss, comes Slim's 78 years of wisdom and perspective.

"My brothers and sisters, none of us got an education," he said. "I had to go back to a $2 dollar 22 cent job. I didn't think I'd live to see a black president in my lifetime."

While shining with the kind of skill that only comes from 60 years on the job, Slim also serenades clients.

"These little hands of mine, I'm gonna make 'em shine..."

And during these difficult economic times, Slim offers clients and anyone he sees perhaps the most welcome service. 

"A lot of times people come in here off the street, 'Slim, will you pray for me? I need a prayer,'" he said. "The next two or three days he came back, 'Slim, I don't know what you got in your prayer, but I feel good.'"

"Let the light shine," he said.

And with a touch of refining fire from his hand-held torch, Slim leaves clients and their shoes shining... like new.

"Shine for them lord, shine," he said.

You can find Slim at the Ramada Inn in downtown Waterloo Saturday mornings and afternoons.

Reporter: Sunny Layne 

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