Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

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April 16, 2012

Erin's column: 04.13.12 >> Barefoot in the airport.

When I decided I would take part in the shoe company TOMS’ annual One Day Without Shoes, a day to bring awareness to the millions of children who don’t have access to something as simple as shoes, it seemed like a great idea.

I was planning a trip to Southern California at that same time. Going barefoot for a day in Huntington Beach, Calif., isn’t much of a chore. I’m in.

Then I realized One Day Without Shoes fell on April 10, the day I was coming home from California. It was to be an already excruciating experience spent shuffling through airports across the country, eating weird rubbery chicken wraps and Caesar salads purchased at shops like The Albuquerque Cafe, or News and Bites.

And this trip, I decided, I would be doing it barefoot — barefoot in Los

Angeles International Airport. Barefoot in Salt Lake City. Barefoot in Indianapolis. Barefoot on escalators and in bathrooms and, conveniently, airport security.

It’s for a great cause, I told myself. People will wonder what I’m doing and ask me about the organization, in which case I can tell them about onedaywithoutshoes.com, and they will be inspired or enlightened and they will give away shoes to those less fortunate and everyone will hold hands and life will be better. That is what I told myself.

When I told my friend Kelly, who had hosted said trip to California, that I’d be walking through LAX sans shoes, she looked at me as if I’d told her I didn’t think Hitler was “that bad.”

“But Erin, you have shoes,” she said.

“Yes, I do, but many people don’t.”

I tried to explain to her about the cause and the website and the shoes and the hand-holding.

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