Sole man: Longtime Detroit cobbler helps city rise to its feet

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We meed a lot of interesting people in this line of work, people who have been in the city a long time and have see it go through some rough times. Sam the Shoe Man has been a cobbler at a shop on a street corner in Detroit for the last 25 years.

He's part philosopher and part cobbler. He finds the soles of these shoes much like the souls on these streets, and even the soul of the city itself. 

"I do offer fixing; what's important is the heel and the sole," Suheil Kashou told us. "Sometimes people love the comfort, so it's worth saving. To bring it back to life again, condition it, refinish it again, condition it - make it look good."

At one point he was the only tenant on the block with the rest of it boarded up. He's seen the area at its most dangerous, like the time decades ago when he was shot at and robbed.

"To be honest with you I see a lot of good things," he said. "I see a lot of bad things. A lot of shootings, a lot of wheeling and dealing and sometimes I wonder how I made it all those years myself, to be honest.

"It scared me for a while but for some reason, I kept going."

But here on Lahser and Grand River, he's watched as Detroit Blight Busters and the Old Redford Theatre have helped stitched together a community, much like a cobbler stitches together shoes.

"Now it's a lot better than before," he said. "A lot better."

Sam the Shoe Man still has his complaints; he'd like to see the sidewalks fixed and even more police on the streets. But his real wish is bigger than safer streets. Originally from Ramallah, he came to America in 1977 and wishes we'd all take a moment to walk in each other's shoes - and realize we are more alike than we think.

"I do like to see one time before I leave this world, is people accepting each other," he said. "It doesn't matter what color, what race, how high, how short, how rich, how poor.

"Everybody is accepted by God - should be."