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Being In Someone Else’s Shoes – Richie’s Experience At The St. Jude Children’s Hospital

This is a true story. You can’t make these things up. I was more embarrassed than I’ve been in a very long time, but it convinces me even more that some things happen for a reason. Out of all places, it happened on the campus of St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.

I’ll cut to the chase. We were doing the first day of our hospital walking tour this morning, and the facility was amazing to say the least. As we traveled down the bright, colorful, kid friendly corridors, we passed by the very patients that they were so well equipped to treat. We saw children with no hair, stitches in their heads, the whole nine yards. This was my first look at the patients. I didn’t want to stare.  I was afraid of the expression that might be on my face.

But I guess if you look hard enough, you can find comedy amidst tragedy. A person on the tour pulled me aside moments later and whispered- “who dressed you this morning?” I immediately looked down at my fly! All ok on that front. Turns out, this is what she was gazing at:

two different shoes - brown and black
Richie Phillips



I wanted to put my head in the Memphis sand at that moment. I was humiliated. I felt DUMB, weird, uncool, a total oddball- you name it, I felt it. I burst out laughing nonetheless out of embarrassment, which made half of our group turn their heads to see what was going on.

They looked down and got their own good chuckle. One person responded- “I think it’s cute”. Another woman patted me on the back and said “Hey! You might have just come up with a new fashion trend”. A third said- “don’t worry about it. You’re the only one who is really bothered by it! ” I ended up laughing a bit more, but still had just a bit of that “Why me?” feeling. And then it hit me!

The way I felt about the way I looked? That’s exactly the kids’ self image. The people’s reactions? It shows the positive, non judgmental vibe that you end up getting from everyone around you from being in an upbeat supportive atmosphere like they have at St Jude. This whole stupid accident was a blessing in disguise! It puts this whole experience into perspective! I’m glad it happened. I now know what it’s like to be in their “shoes”…bad pun, but great experience.


More pictures and stories to come!

St Jude Children's Hospital building entrance
Richie Phillips


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