Eric's Heroes: The Kenmore man helping those in need one pair of socks at a time
A man pulls up at a storage facility in Kenmore. He opens up a unit and walks inside. There are stacks and stacks of boxes. And the man hums to himself constantly as he arranges them. He hums like he's figured out some kind of secret.
Before long, the man is moving his car closer and loading the boxes into his car. One after another. Box after box, humming the whole time. And then he closes things up and the man is gone.
His name is Michael Taylor, and he shows up at Friends of Youth, a shelter for homeless kids, and he starts stacking the boxes. It is an impressive pile and a welcome one.Back at the storage unit he opens one of the boxes, and it turns out they are full of socks. In this place, there are thousands and thousands of pairs of socks.
He buys them all himself and with his own money.
"This is the last of 55,000 pairs that came in two weeks ago," Michael said. But Michael waits for sales and buys in bulk when it comes to socks. The man knows how to stretch a buck. "These colorful socks...these socks here, have a retail of $8.95, I pay 47 cents." And so he hums, and he loads up some more. "Why? Because there's a need and I can. And everybody can do something." Next stop is the Ronald McDonald House.
Michael calls himself "Mr. Socks." He delivers to all kinds of shelters and charities. On the Friday before Christmas, he delivered 20,000 pairs. In the last couple of years, he's spent $70,000 on socks. It all started in 2004. Michael's mom Elizabeth wanted to do something extra for Christmas, so they both pitched in $250 and bought a thousand pairs of socks and donated them. Elizabeth is gone now, but the sock tradition remains. At the Sacred Heart Shelter, they know all too well that homeless people are on their feet all the time, and they go through socks.
The other day, Michael dropped off 3,000 pairs of socks at Mary's Place, a shelter for women.
In places like this, on streets like these...the impact of one man's generosity is felt where people march along endlessly, searching for some kind of peace. That man can be found in Kenmore, at a storage facility, sorting boxes and humming...like he's figured out some kind of secret.