The Free Press, Mankato, MN

December 20, 2013

Stranded by a stilleto

Women say no one believes their shoe story

By Dan Nienaber

---- — MANKATO — Doug Mayer has a long list of things that have been pulled from deflated tires: scissors, pieces of wood, sharp rocks, glass, tools and a variety of nuts, bolts and nails.

He was able to add a stiletto heel to that list after two customers stopped into Tire Associates, where he works as a service manager, earlier this week.

"That's the first shoe I've ever seen," Mayer said Thursday.

Laura Henry suspects the pointy-heeled shoe lodged itself into her front tire while she was parking her car in a snowy spot on North Fourth Street outside Gus Johnson Plaza. Her mother, Lyla Henry, has an apartment there and she was heading inside to look at some Christmas cards.

After a short visit, they decided to go to Laura's house near Rapidan. Lyla waited at the front door for her daughter to pick her up.

"I heard this thump, thump like something was hitting her wheel well," Lyla said. "I thought it was a hunk of ice with mud on it. I pulled on it, it let go and all of a sudden the tire went whoosh.

"Then we started laughing because it was so peculiar. I've never seen a heel go through a tire before, but it's very skinny — smaller around than your pinky."

The women were stuck for awhile until a wrecker showed up to bring the car to Mayer's shop. When they arrived, people in the crowded waiting room quickly started making jokes.

"She was here when we had quite a few customers so everyone started asking her if she ran some one over," Mayer said.

The responses were similar when Laura posted photos of her mom and the shoe on Facebook.

"People were asking 'where's the woman who was attached to the shoe?' and making jokes like 'did you leave her on the road somewhere.' Everybody just thinks it's unbelievable, not possible."

Now this heel-to-tow tale has become sort of a Cinderella story. Both Henrys are wondering how the shoe ended up buried in a chunk of snow on the side of the road.

They've guessed that a college student living in the neighborhood could have lost it on the way home from a night downtown. It could have fallen from a garbage can, too, but Lyla said there's nothing wrong with it. Maybe it was tossed in disgust toward a husband or boyfriend on his way to the dog house.

There's always the chance the owner broke the heel on the other shoe or, as kids say, "blew a tire." But, if someone still has the match and wants their shoe back, Lyla has it.

"I told my mom to take the shoe home with her because she has a story to tell," Laura said. "The owner can have it back; it's unharmed. It's actually a pretty cute shoe, nothing I would wear, but it's cute."