Columnnist: Jo Worgan

Guardian columnist Jo Worgan.
Guardian columnist Jo Worgan.

The other week Tom came home from school wearing his pumps rather than shoes and with no socks on.

When I further investigated I found that his shoes and socks were in his book bag and that they were extremely wet and smelled of urine.

Oh no, I thought to myself. The only thing I could do was to pop them into the washing machine and it took two washes for them to smell fresh again.

However washing them had loosened the stitching on one of the shoes right by where the big toe is situated and I knew that given time a hole would appear.

So stoically I knew that new shoes were needed.

Therefore the following morning I set off for Clarks shoe shop in Lancaster.

The boys always 
have Clarks shoes for 

Luckily I had Tom’s feet measured at the end of the summer holidays so did not have the added ordeal of dragging him to the shoe shop.

After finding a pair of shoes that were similar to the now fragrant but totally ruined shoes I went and found an assistant to see if they had my chosen pair of shoes in Tom’s size. Unfortunately they did not.

However as I got chatting to the very helpful member of staff about Tom and his autism and having found a similar pair of shoes in the correct size she kindly offered to order the pair I had originally found just in case he objected to the new shoes as they were slightly different.

This was incredibly kind of her.

Fortunately when Tom tried on his new shoes that evening he was very happy with them and made no objections.

I very craftily though did not refer to them as ‘school’ shoes as this can be a trigger word for him.

I received a text message and a phone call a few days later from the shop to tell me that the reserve shoes were available if I needed them. This was extremely thoughtful and indeed excellent customer service.

So I just want to thank Clarks in Lancaster and specifically the very kind member of staff who helped me and understood Tom’s needs.