I came across some of my fondest memories working as a Podiatrist while I was scrolling through my photos last night. I have completely forgotten about a very special man who’s had a very significant impact on my professional life. It goes all the way back to 2010. I barely graduated from University and somehow landed a job at a very reputable Podiatry Clinic in Jakarta. At 20 years old and no prior professional experience I struck gold when Body Clinic Indonesia took me under their wings and showed me the ropes. At the time, Body Clinic was the standard of podiatry in Jakarta and on the forefront of the design of custom orthotics in their onsite laboratory.
I was given the opportunity to not only model orthotics by hand but also be an active member of a charity program that specialised in footwear modifications for the less fortunate people of the community. It was through the charity program where I met a man who has changed my professional life completely – And it almost never happened! It was by sheer accident that I came across a man we all called Jack. One day, on my daily commute to the Starbucks around the corner from the clinic, I spotted a man with severely deformed limbs picking up trash in the streets. It wasn’t so much his deformed legs that stuck with me but more the way he carried himself on the job. Jack had this captivating smile and attitude that mesmerised me from the first moment I met him.
After my first encounter with Jack, I made it my daily habit to stop by on the way to the coffee shop and have a quick chat with him in Bahasa. The better I have gotten to know him, the more I started to understand the daily struggles he faces. He hasn’t had appropriate footwear for years and no money to get treatment for his deformed limbs either. I pitched the idea to help out Jack to my boss, and we started to work on a custom shoe for Jack, that not only corrects his disfigured legs but also reduces pain and swelling while on the job. We had Jack in for a week straight to get all the casting and footwear modifications done.
I remember the last day I saw Jack, was when he walked out of our lab in the custom shoes we designed for him, going down the stairs for the first time in what must have been years. I continued to stop at the corner where he used to pick up trash for a few weeks after that but never saw him again.