by Melinda Gallo

Beauty has its advantages

When I bought a new pair of sandals at Coin today, the woman told me to go to a calzolaio (shoemaker) to see if he could repair them so that I won't slip on the pavement. I had seen a calzolaio near where I live, but I knew that at 6:30PM, I'd have to hurry to get there before closing time at 7PM.

The calzolaio I see the most works on via dei Pepi next to my gym. I'm usually walking past it in the morning without any make-up trying not to get noticed. The calzolaio is usually standing outside and has made some comments to me like, "Come sei bella!" (How beautiful you are!) I'm flattered, but I still have avoided saying hello to him.

He was standing outside putting the chain back up where there are a few reserved parking spots. I saw him and asked him, "È ancora aperto?" (Are you still open) He smiled and asked me to wait for him inside.

The shop is filled with shoes on both side walls and in the window. Each time I walk by I always wonder if people left them there or if it's like the dry cleaner's where people will be coming by to pick them up.

He came inside and I asked him if there was something he could put on my sandals per non scivolare (so that I won't slip). He told me that he can have them done by Monday. Because I needed them sooner, I just figured that I might be able to make it to the other calzolaio on Borgo la Croce.

As I grabbed my shoes to put them back in the box, he said "OK, te lo faccio subito perché sei bella te." (OK, I'll do it for you now because you're beautiful). I smiled at him, but I felt a little uneasy. He told me to come back in a half an hour. I went home to drop off my other bags and then walked back to his shop and waited in front.

He wasn't finished until almost 7:15PM. I felt a little guilty about making him work so long. He seemed a little tired, but was still smiling. He showed me what he did on the shoes and told me not to wear them for at least a day. I paid him and put the box for my shoes back in the bag.

He asked me where I'm from and when I told him California, he said, "Però hai delle origini italiane, no?" (But you do have Italian origins, right?) "Sì e anche cinesi," (Yes, and Chinese ones too). He didn't say anything to my response. I thanked him again and he said, "Solo perché sei bella." (Only because you're beautiful).

On my way home, I couldn't help but laugh. I didn't think that the calzolaio would have done the work so quickly and stayed at work longer for me. I don't generally get preferential treatment, but it's nice when it happens.

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