I am humbled to be able to share a story with you that takes “Red Shoes” to its highest possible meaning. I can’t describe how amazed I am to have Red Shoes associated with this experience. The immediate action this man took to serve one of his customers stood out so brightly that it caught the attention of his entire city, Sunny Isles, Florida, and his entire company, Tony Roma’s.
I received this message a few nights ago from my friend, president of Tony Roma’s, Ken Myres:
We had a great Red Shoes presentation today at our Sunny Isles, FL Tony Roma's recognizing one of our team members, Cesar Garcia, who saved the life of one of our guests.
On July 8th, Cesar Garcia, a server at Tony Roma's in Sunny Isles, FL came to the restaurant expecting to work a "normal" shift. When he observed a guest at an adjacent table struggling and silently choking he immediately knew what to do.
He rushed to her side, had her stand up and performed the Heimlich maneuver on her successfully dislodging the piece of food stuck in her throat and saving her life. A Red Shoes act of the highest level... saving a person's life.
Today, we honored Cesar at the restaurant in front of his peers, his managers and a number of local VIP guests including Sunny Isles Mayor Norman Edelcup, Chief of Police Fred Maas, and Tony Roma's President, Ken Myres. Chris Castellana, Director of Operations for Tony Roma's, and our restaurant manager, Tai Vaz, organized the event.
Cesar was presented with a pair of the signature Chuck Taylor Converse Red Shoes in a personalized display case. I presented the Red Shoes award and explained to the audience the origin of the Red Shoes recognition and how, indeed, Cesar "stood out" on July 8th when he saved a guest's life. I also presented Cesar with another award and a life-size check for $1,000.
The recognition was not over. Mayor Edelcup personally thanked Cesar. Chief Maas then told the group that Cesar's unselfish, quick reaction and knowledge of what to do in this situation resulted in the ultimate act of heroism, and that is to save a person's life. Chief Maas then presented Cesar with the official Sunny Isles Police Department's commemorative coin along with a unique scale model of a Sunny Isles Police Car.
Cesar was totally taken by surprise and had been told he was going to be "working" the VIP banquet—not that he was to be the Guest of Honor. Cesar was very humble and appreciative of the recognition but said he was "just doing his job" and that he was very happy he could help one of his very important Tony Roma’s guests.
From a Red Shoes perspective, it just doesn't get any better than that.
This may be the best example of Red Shoes that we have ever had the privilege of hearing about.
Cesar, I will wear my own red shoes in honor of you this week and truly hope to meet you someday! I know you say you were just doing your job, but you were doing much, much more. Not only were you saving a life; you were inspiring thousands of people you have never even met. We all need to follow your example and put on our red shoes in your honor.