'Shining soles': Local worker buffs out scuffs, uplifts spirits

Posted at 6:51 AM, Feb 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-15 07:51:48-05

WACO, Texas — You are about to meet a guy who works on both soles and souls.

One is at the bottom of your shoe and the other is much deeper.

He loves what he does.

He makes his customers look better and feel better about themselves.

Inside the Hilton in downtown Waco, near the elevator, you'll find a sharped-dressed man with a gold watch, a polished black and white leather shoe, and a snazzy hat.

First impressions are important, but you can't judge a book by its cover.

At first glance, his tiny little face tattoo might look like a teardrop.

So, you might assume he's been in a gang but you'd be wrong.

He's no gangbanger and that's not a teardrop.

It's an Egyptian symbol called an ankh.

"The father, the son, the holy spirit. The oval part is everlasting life."

He goes by the nickname 'Silent.'

It's from the bible.

"And it says, 'be silent and I will teach you wisdom."

Silent Maynor is the deacon at the Greater Zion Missionary Baptist Church in Waco.

He spreads the message beyond the pulpit at his day job.

He's a shoeshine man and there's a spiritual aspect to his craft.

"Just like Jesus washed the feet of the disciples, I get to sit at the feet of strangers. Sometimes I say a silent prayer for them."

He taps the bottom of his customers' feet with frankincense and myrrh.

"And ask God to give them traveling grace because you never know, you can leave here and go into McDonald's and somebody go in there crazy, shoot up the whole place."

Shining shoes is a lost art, one he picked up from watching his dad, but didn't think too highly of at first.

"To me, it was embarrassing," Maynor said. "I thought it was the lowest thing you could do."

Over time, he would learn to appreciate the showmanship that's part of the job.

"You ever heard of the ham bone? Its like 'ham bone, ham bone, have you heard? I'm going to buy you a mockingbird," Maynor broke out in song.

"I can't do it as they could do it but that's what they would do and shine shoes out in the streets."

His personality is so big, you may not even notice at first glance that he only has one leg and relies on his wheelchair to get around.

While working at a chicken plant as a young man, his leg got caught in a piece of equipment.

"Looks like a giant corkscrew. They use it for drill holes" Maynor recalled.

"When you get caught in something like that, you don't have time to say 'in the name of the father of the son of the, no, no." Maynor said.

"Three words; God help me."

Today, he's just grateful to be alive.

"Just trying to make an honest living."

And he's using his life to make the world a better place.

"One of my gifts is exaltation, which is lifting other people up, so it's not even about me," he said.

"So if a person is bringing an old pair of beat-up shoes, you don't even want anymore and donate them to Goodwill and I can bring them back to life, make them look better than they were when he bought them, I feel like I uplifted him. And when he walks out of here, he got a little pep in his step, he got that John Wayne walk going."

A humble man, spreading joy, one shinny shoe at a time.

He also served in the Texas Army National Guard.

So, he gives free shoeshines to Veterans.

You can find him at the Hilton and at other locations around Waco.