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RTD employee gives the shoes off his feet to homeless man in Denver

Posted at 8:56 PM, Sep 17, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-19 08:43:10-04

DENVER — A homeless man living on the streets of Denver has a new pair of shoes thanks to the generosity of an employee with the Regional Transportation District.

A Denver7 photographer working on a story about fare increases came across the barefooted employee named Gary Leikness of Thornton in downtown Denver Monday evening. 

James Dougherty, the Denver7 photojournalist, asked Gary where his shoes were. 

“I just gave them to a homeless guy," Leikness said.

He had been working in the Civic Center Station in downtown Denver and went tp grab lunch on 16th Street Mall. While walking back, he notified a man with one slipper on. He described the slipper as one somebody may get at a hospital. 

Leikness said he asked the man what size shoes he wears. When the stranger said size 10 and a half, Leikness told him he was a size 10 and gave his Sketchers, which he'd owned for six months, to the man. He then returned to work. 

Leikness said he has several other pairs of shoes in his vehicle, so the donation was “no big deal.”

Dougherty tweeted about the encounter, writing “There is definitely good in this world.”

Dougherty’s tweet has garnered a lot of attention, including RTD which replied saying, "We know he did this with zero thought of recognition, but we've tracked down Gary's manager to make sure he gets a personal thank you :)”

Leikness has been with RTD since 1973, working in numerous positions from driver to dispatcher. He officially retired in 2008 and has been working part-time since then. 

He showed up to work Tuesday in newer shoes. RTD managers sent a company-wide email telling everybody about his act of kindness.