SIXTEEN-YEAR-OLD FREDRICO ORTEZ couldn’t see his image reflected back in the black leather shoe of his customer so he resumed buffing. After a few minutes of vigorous polishing, he checked again. This time he was satisfied that the shoe was shiny enough for his impeccable standards. He repeated the prolonged procedure on the other shoe until it too shined enough to bring a Drill Sargent to tears. Okay maybe the lad was slightly obsessed, but Fredrico prided himself in polishing the shiniest shoes in all of Albuquerque. He even built his own shoeshine box that opened up with a fold-out footrest and had extra room inside to store supplies. Fredrico kept his own shoes imppecably polished as well and his attention to detail paid off a few years later when he stepped into the J.C. Penney Department Store in downtown Albuequerque for a job interview in the Shoe Department. Yes, one look at his glimmering black saddle shoes and the department manager knew he had found his man.
Fredrico worked in the Penney’s Shoe Department for over thirty-seven years, eventually becoming manager himself. Though long since retired, he still holds the one day shoe sales record of any J.C. Penney’s store in the U.S.A. and he still can be seen walking the streets of Albuquerque with the shiniest shoes around.