At 4’ 9” tall, Daisy has relied on her high-heeled shoes to help her walk confidently into new jobs for over twenty-six years. Her first Canadian job interview on an extremely cold day teaches her lessons about where her confidence and sense of purpose really come from.
I have a favourite quote: “Before you start to judge me, step into my shoes and walk the life I’m living, and if you get as far as I am, just maybe you will see how strong I am.”
My name is Daisy Mendez. Let me tell you a story about my interview shoes. I bought these shoes for my graduation from Philippine Christian University in 1996. I immediately fell in love with their nude colour and three-inch heels.
In my culture, you have to look confident and refined when you apply for a job. Whenever I wear these shoes to an interview, I feel quite sophisticated. They help me stand much taller than my four-foot-nine-inch stature. I feel confident and accomplished when I wear them.
Twenty-six years is a long time to have a pair of shoes. My interview shoes have walked me into new careers and are still in perfect shape.
When I immigrated to Canada in October 2013, I imagined these shoes would work the same way and help me land a job that would relaunch my career. My first job interview was at IKEA on November 30, 2013. It was a frigid day. The weather report said it was minus thirty-seven degrees, but that didn’t matter to me. All I knew was that I was happy to have my first Canadian job interview. I wanted to show up confident and elegant, just like I used to do when I lived in the Philippines.
I planned to arrive at IKEA two hours early. I carried my little backpack. It contained my interview shoes in their shiny nude-coloured polyester bag, a matching nude-coloured dress, my makeup, and a flat iron for my hair. Two hours would give me enough time to get out of my winter clothes and be ready to show up feeling prepared for my interview.
I waited at the bus stop near the corner of Grant and Kenaston, but after seeing no buses for a long time, I decided to walk. I couldn’t risk being late for my interview. About five minutes into my walk, I realized I had made a dangerous mistake. The wind blew so hard it whipped the snow around. I could hardly see where I was going. I realized I was in deep trouble when I was in the middle of a field. I could not see any houses or buildings, just snow and the highway in the distance. I was dizzy, my eyes were watering, and my mouth was dry. My lips were about to succumb to frostbite.
I was so afraid. I prayed, “Lord, please give me enough wisdom to surpass this wrong decision.”
I was in tears as I plowed through the snow to get back to the highway. After a few cars, one good Samaritan stopped to pick me up.
I was so exhausted and confused that I couldn’t speak, and I never got to ask his name. But he immediately recognized that I was experiencing hypothermia. He drove me down the highway to the nearest building, which was IKEA, and stayed with me there until I stopped shivering and could identify where I was. He even sought help from the staff. One of the people who came to assist me was the person I was supposed to have my interview with.
Wearing my winter boots, ski pants, and parka, I was interviewed later that morning. My interview shoes stayed in my backpack.
By the way, I got the job!
I will never forget the stranger who saved me that day. He didn’t know it, but he saved my dreams of Canada from becoming a nightmare. His kindness is the reason I can tell this story today.
Daisy immigrated to Canada in 2013. She is a mother and the owner of JASLTD Cleaning Services. She cites her biggest achievement as being able to reunite with her family. Daisy’s shoe story spotlights her resilience and how the kindness and compassion of strangers can change outcomes for new and seasoned Winnipeggers alike.