Making Friends And Saving Soles

Most people show up at the Happy Hands Car Wash in Santa Ana, Calif., "naked" — at least that's what Bud Bolden tells them, reports CBS News correspondent Steve Hartman.

"People aren't dressed if their shoes aren't shined," Bud says.

The 92-year-old started shining shoes in the third grade.

"That's when I started," Bud says. "First pair of shoes I shined was in a barbershop."

Bud says that back then, there were no child labor laws. "You had to work if you wanted to eat."

That was in Wichita, Kan. As an adult, Bud did dozens of different jobs — from janitor to shop teacher — but he says nothing seemed to fit until about 35 years ago, when he came back to the brushes. "I love it," Bud says of his lengthy career.

"Bud is one of the friendliest guys I've ever known," says Juan Muldanado, who is a regular. By regular, Hartman says, he came in on Monday — and was back on Tuesday.

"For me it's a break from my office," he says.

A lot of people come by more often than their shoes would dictate.

Some come to talk, some to listen. Customers say Bud's advice is always from the heart — and almost always involves vinegar.

Absolutely no one visits Bud without getting a lecture on the virtues of vinegar — a special kind of vinegar that he says cures everything from diabetes to dandruff.

He also says you should not only bathe in it but drink it — three times a day. Bud also mixes the raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar with honey and garlic.

Of course, it also helps that he has so many amazing friends who have helped him stay healthy through some pretty tough times. Last year, Bud lost a lot of weight after his wife died. They had 50 years and four children together — and everyone was wondering: "Was Bud just giving up?"

Not if they had anything to do with it.

These days, Bud is back up to weight and climbing — back to his life's mission of making friends and saving soles.

  • Stephen Smith

    Stephen Smith is a senior editor for CBSNews.com

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