SANTA MONICA (CBS) — The city of Santa Monica may be kicking Andy Waller just as the recession already has him down.

Waller has been shining shoes on the Third Street Promenade for 14 years. But since the economy has soured, and the Promenade has evolved into a tourist destination where people wear tennis shoes more than business shoes – Waller has seen has business go down dramatically.

Waller can recall a time when he shined 15 shoes a day. That number has gone down to four, thanks in part to the economy and the disappearance of business attire on the Promenade.

Waller owes $965 in back rent that he can’t pay. By Nov. 16, his shoe shine stand will be gone, possibly for good.

Interested in helping Waller out? Email him at

(©2010 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

Comments (27)
  1. SNMFX says:

    Yeah I lost my job because of the economy too. No one is giving me any handouts. This story is an AD to make this guy sympathy money. Pathetic. This is not NEWS you idiots. I hope they fire whoever is on this stupid story and whoever posted it on Yahoo News. This is why our economy is in such dire straits. Idiots run everything.

    1. JIM says:

      You said it, and ain’t that the truth.

    2. drhustle says:

      Your comment was a bit extreme don’t you think? There are stories like this all the time in news, both print and broadcast. Just because someone down on their luck is covered in a news story and it’s not you, all of a sudden someone else (the reporter) should also lose their job? Your comment is pathetic, get a life buddy lots of people are struggling right now and they’re not getting coverage. You don’t have to help the guy out and neither does anyone else. Just like you don’t have to help out the people who have lost loved ones or had their house burned down or any of the many other stories covered by news outlets that incorporate the same elements of hardship or loss

    3. Joseph Hunter says:

      What comes around goes around. your luck would turn around in an instant if you were as kind as Waller. You should be happy at least somebody’s getting a break.
      Lighten up.

    4. brenda says:

      Idiot? Parhetic? It’s because of the sad state of these economic times that we should find and exercise COMPASSION with one another.
      I am a senior citizen that is losing my home to foreclosure and cannot afford the medicines I need. I don’t eat everyday. With that said, there are many families worse off than me and if I can help in anyway I will.
      If it’s baby sitting or giving a ride to a prospective job if I have the gas I will take them.
      I am so sorry you lost your job and pray something turns up soon for you and then everytime you pass by a tent city or an area where there are entire families living out of their cars or just plain on the street you will be ale o say “there but for the grace of God go I.”

      1. MrsLee says:

        @brenda doesn’t eat everyday, but she’s still got the internet! 😛

      2. Marian Frantz says:

        Mrs Lee a lot of people are still online even though they can’t afford food because they are either using free wifi, or are using someone’s open wifi connection. There’s not a lot of money in pawning/selling your computer, and when you’re flat broke it’s an essential tool you need to find services.

        There’s more than a few homeless families who have and live in a car…do you have snarky comments for them too?

        Brenda I’m sorry about your situation PLEASE look into local food pantries and food stamp assistance. It’s dangerous to not eat every day. There’s also low cost prescription programs available to help you STAY on your medication. It will cost much more down the road if you don’t. =\

      3. MrsLee says:

        Yes Marian, I DO, have snarky comments for them! If you read Brenda’s post you’ll see she isn’t homeless, she’s in her home so I am assuming she had internet. But you are right, she could be using the free WiFi at Starbucks while she sips her $5 latte. (Sorry was that too snarky for you?)

    5. jo says:

      Wow sourpuss. No wonder no one is helping you out! Shame you are so mean-spirited. Why don’t you do some good deeds and perhaps your luck will change.

  2. Moe says:

    Good luck Andy! Hope things change for the better for you! i think its cool that you go out and work your business even though times are hard. Its that positive, hopeful attitude that will bring success and wealth your way. Mark my words, something wonderful is right around the corner for you! Keep it up! We’re rootin’ for ya!

  3. Joe Dokes says:

    I wouldn’t go as far as SNMFX, but….. it is a sob sister story and Waller needs to pay his way like everyone else. Note: he owes back rent to an individual, who says he hasn’t paid in NINE months. At least he could pay a little bit along the way. Sorry, but I can’t feel any more sorry for him than I do the millions of people that the Bush recession/depression has put out of work

  4. Andy says:

    Well, maybe I’m missing something but if there’s no business on the 3rd street promenade, I’m thinking he should try some where else. Its a shoe shine stand, right? Aren’t those portable? Just move to a more urban location… I don’t know… maybe near some office buildings. jesus.

  5. Michael says:

    Good story. Sorry to hear about Andy’s situation. I wish him well.

    God bless.

  6. jas says:

    i know, right!? i mean, i feel for him, i really do -and not only because i am in the same exact situation: unemployed and struggling to make rent. but no one is giving me a FEATURED news article -one that is being displayed in the ‘local news stream’ section of a user’s Yahoo Mail homepage.

    on another note: i love the shoe-shine guys! especially Gary at the Grove! My little red ankle boots and my black cowboy boots never looked as good as they did after one of Gary’s shoe shinings.

    But again, that is no excuse to feature a segment about his current financial state and whatnot. that is not something that qualifies as “news worthy”. news worthy is a phrase that has lost all meaning in the media.

    and the news on television is a waste of my time.
    it’s all meaningless filler, with a few minutes of valuable content (typically pertaining to world issues) mixed in there. and by a few minutes, i mean 2 or 3.

    i stopped watching the news after a segment on college students “icing” each other with smirnoff ice aired for 5 minutes and yet they had NO time to mention how pakistan was 1/5 under water or anything of any depth/importance etc.

    now it appears the online news has also become an advocate of mindless filler and sponsored content rather than actual important info and events.

    sucks for us.

  7. Ben says:

    My family’s company has been in Santa Monica for over 80 years, and we might go out of business too with the current economy. Are you going to post a fluff piece for us too? We’re alot more than $965 down though, so get out your wallets! This “news” story is pathetic.

  8. ketracel says:

    I hope this guy finds a resolution to his situation, but…. since when did people on the promenade wear business attire? I mean — really? There’s more to this story.

  9. pat thomas says:


    Don’t be so hard on this story regarding Walter, the shoeshine man or the party that posted this…it could’ve been your story or mines, and if so, we would have been thankful that someone cared. I am so tired of hearing news about death, war, and other horrific things….this is what I call a Good Samaritan story! I hope you will find work soon or someone tells your story, you don’t have to accept the money just give it to your favorite charity!

  10. Anthony Kennedy says:

    Dear SNMF; I sympathize with your anger. The real issue is the degradation of America, the true devastation of the economy. I don’t think though this is a time to shoot the messenger. I have never met this man. But one must give it to him, shining shoes for 14 years in the same location is a show of reliability and integrity. Resorting to calling whomever wrote the story to be fired is not the answer. The economy is not in dire straits because of this. However, it is important to get facts, the economy is down due to the decades of stagnating wages, lowered standards in the general population. I understand your frustration and commend whomever put this story on Yahoo News. You see, this is what is called humanitarianism, someone who could do a good turn by doing his part by featuring the story of the emerging reality which is glaring. The City of Santa Monica, is well known to be a greedy municipality which I personally do not patronize. The rampant push to consumerism there is rather sickening. as well as their seedy parking practices are enough to shut down businesses If anyone is a real idiot it’s the municipality indeed. Hard working men should be praised. Obviously, this man is only a victim of endless hand outs to Wall Street and as you will see soon, they won’t be any Main Street as evidenced by your own experience. I agree with you that idiocy runs everywhere. However, please do not kick another man just because he is down on his luck. It is both callous and insensitive no matter how difficult your personal reality has become. Good luck to you, good luck to Waller and all the real casualties of the greatest banking heist in the history of the world. Remember, Quantative Easing 2 is around the corner. It’s the politicians you could vent your anger at not the simple man on the street who is trying to earn an honest living and put food on the table and a roof over his head. For the City of Santa Monica, a piece of mediation advice, work with this man, he obviously is trying everything he can to earn a living. Or have you forgotten your humble roots? The real unemployment in California is 22% as per the revised latest statistics, what makes the City think they shall even fill this spot. Less revenue, more poverty. That’s the real issue here. A dose of reality, the working man should help his fellow man and not resort to “sniping” another because that “other” is merely a reflection of his own pain, and there is plenty to go around. A little compassion and decorum in this once great nation is sorely needed. I hope you and Waller can weather the deepening “recession”. If this man is being given $100 tip it is an attestation to his character. Kudos to the Wallers of this world.

  11. Joseph Hunter says:

    I met Waller and he is a great guy. He not only did a great job with the shoes, He gave 1 of the 3 dollars tip i gave him to a poor old lady who looked pretty hungry.
    I know his health is bad and he sure could use a break. I’m gonna send him 10 bucks right now- Make yourself feel good and do the same

  12. Sage Advice says:

    Hey, maybe we should all post our emails here with our own “hard luck” stories so we too, as this ADVERTISEMENTS promotes, receive a dole of cash from various sources that may not know the full story and details. Such as I have hit on such a down-turn in sorts, that I can barely afford the gas to fill the tank of my Ferrari; anyone like to email me to help me out with that? As you see, by Nov. 16, my fulfillment factor of fun from my Ferrari will be gone, possibly for a good weekend.

    Please help!

  13. brunosdad says:

    lololol…tell us how you really feel!! i have to admit that i agree with you that the article is more than a little manipulative. if they were really trying to report this as news, the major detail that he owes $965 in back rent wouldn’t have been an afterthought. the title suggests that the city is making him leave his spot …well, yeah, that’s what usually happens when you don’t pay rent.
    oh yeah… you’re right…idiots do run everything, even their mouths. lol.

  14. ReginaM says:

    Sad story but if he gets the money,he’ll be in the same predicament next month. Time to do some retooling of the job skills.

  15. Leslie says:

    I personally think instead of everyone over-reacting to this story, they should help the guy out. And, if you are not happy with the economy, who is? Then start contacting your local representatives and legislators. Tell them you are not taking the pocketing of your hard earned money anymore. The truth is that the lobbyists are the greatest threat to the economy, so do your homework, educate yourself by reading about the condition of this country, stop whining, and help the guy out, you think the Government is going to help you? That is the problem with people in this country, they stopped helping their neighbor and turned it over to the Government, think about it.

    1. MrsLee says:

      Hey Leslie, the PEOPLE didn’t turn over the country to the government, the GOVERNMENT took it when they scared people inside and created mass market media and 200+ 24/7/365 TV channels and the internet and cell phones with texting and internet. Everyone’s got their face stuck in a damn screen and not out their door where it should be. As for contacting local government, it’s not going to happen. People are disenchanted. Why put forth all that effort when it doesn’t seem to make any difference? America voted for change with Obama and he can’t even enact any change because the oppositional governmet won’t give him a chance to. America is supposed to be FREE? Ya right!

    2. MrsLee says:

      Is it just me or does anyone else think that shining 15 shoes a day is no big deal? From 15 shoes down to 4, doesn’t seem like business was ever booming!

  16. Hanna says:

    Hi Andy, I am very sorry that you struggle so badly and to give you a bit hope you are among lots of others that struggle like you. Here an idea that helped me. Go to and create a donation page, it’s for free and everybody can donate as much or as little they want. You can send it to everybody you know, friends, family, old customer or ask people right there when you clean their shoes. I hope you will get the money for the rent together – nobody deserves to be homeless. Good Luck.

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