WRWA Shoe Shiner’s Mark Of Consistency Brings Calm To Holiday Travel Chaos

Monday, November 21st 2022, 10:32 am


Will Rodgers World Airport recently marked the official start of the holiday travel season. 

Airport officials encouraged passengers Friday to be prepared to arrive early. 

In addition to making flights on time, there’s also a good reason to do so. All travelers have to do is bring a little cash and their best dress shoes. 

During the chaos of holiday travel, it’s nice to find consistency and a little rest. Across from Gate 22 at Will Rogers World Airport, so many travelers find both – spending time with Harold Smith. 

“Since 1986,” Smith said. “Shining shoes. Thirty-six years.” 

During that time, Smith has seen customers too many to count. 

“I like dealing with the people,” Smith said. “See, I’m a people person. In this business, you got (sic) to be nice to the customer, take care of the customer and do good, quality work. That’s why he’s back.” 

The “he” referenced is Houston traveler Bill McNutt. Bill has come back often. 

“Three to four times a year,” McNutt said. “I do every time I’m here.” 

His first shoeshine from Smith was 15 years ago. 

“It’s just a little timeout. Travel is hectic,” McNutt points out. 

Smith’s skills were learned from only one teacher - time. 

“Time is the best,” Smith said. “See, I’m a professional shoe shiner. I’m a pro because I keeps (sic) it in the fairway. I keep it on the short grass. That’s how life is. Keep it down the middle.” 

Smith works in a place where time is something few possess. He’s been here nearly four decades. 

“I’ve been here through five airport directors,” Smith said. “I’ve outlasted all of them. I’m still kicking.” 

Smith has added a little polish and a little rest to the chaos of holiday travel for all those with $6 and a little time. 


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