Fox wanted a “man in the street” interview for the upcoming NFC championship between the San Francisco 49ers & Atlanta Falcons. They called up A-Shine & Co., which runs the shoe shine stand here at the Crocker Galleria. A-Shine is more than just a shoeshine company: theirs is a story of joy & success in the aftermath of personal difficulty.
The company was founded by Kevin Tuohy right before the first dotcom boom. They brought style & fun to shoe shining, so became fixtures at posh events around town. Kevin & Co. have grown the company since then. A Shine now has locations around San Francisco, as well as New York City.
Dray is one of the ace A Shine guys here in the Crocker Galleria, and has a Niners tattoo on his arm.
So when Fox called Kevin to see if one of his coworkers might be a big Niners fan, he immediately thought of Dray. Truth is, I ran into Dray in the Euphemism yesterday, where he told me about the scheduled interview today. He was understandably nervous. So I reminded him Fox wanted the real Dray, just like he is. Dray is an experienced musician & performer, but this was something new.
And of course we know how passionate he is about San Francisco sports.
A few minutes before the interview, Dray realized he needed a shoe model. He called us, and asked if we were wearing shineable shoes. Yes! Both Justin & I are. So we came down and waited for Fox Sports.
These guys were chasing all over town, to capture the excitement & enthusiasm for the upcoming game. So they were disappointed to see how dark it was in the shoeshine zone. In fact, I got the sense they weren’t going to do the interview at all.
So my Memento Press coworkers ran upstairs, and brought our studio lights down. Just as Fox was apologizing, and starting to leave, Justin flipped the switch. Voila! Dray was bathed in gorgeous studio light!
Dray gave a great interview. Justin & I got a free shine out of the deal. We may even be visible in the background, if they use the piece. Sheryl & Katheryn hung out and took photos of the whole thing.
Then something really cool happened.
Two years ago, when the San Francisco Giants won the World Series, they held a victory parade near the Crocker. Dray had the gumption to find the staging area for the parade.
The players were just hanging out, enjoying morning beverages, without many fans around. Dray walked up and asked if they would sign his San Francisco Chronicle front page, announcing the event. And they did! So he has signatures from all the big names, on a single piece of paper.
He brought that newspaper to us, and asked us to frame it. We did. But he couldn’t pay for it just then. We set up a payment plan. But as of today, there was still a long way to go.
So we figured this was the perfect moment. We carried his frame downstairs, and walked up with the excuse of collecting our last studio light. Then Dray heard, “By the way, a fat guy in a red suit told me to give you this.”
Well, his reaction was psychic pay-day for all of us at Memento.
He was truly speechless, holding back intense emotion. Not sure how I kept from cracking — I’m the Sap in Chief among the sentimental saps around here. It was a great moment for everyone.
And with that good Karma, we all agreed Atlanta doesn’t stand a chance!