Fact Check

Winter at Bernie's

A Facebook anecdote maintains that Bernie Sanders once charitably bought a homeless man a new pair of winter boots.

Published Nov 3, 2015

[green-label]Claim:[/green-label] Bernie Sanders once bought a homeless man a new pair of winter boots.


[green-label]Example:[/green-label] [green-small][Collected via e-mail, October 2015][/green-small]

I saw a facebook post that reported that Berniex Sanders was on a walk in Vermont and came upon a homeless person with inadequate winter footwear.  He took the person into a shoe store and purchased a pair of boots for that individual without any pretense of being rewarded with accolades.  Is that a true story?

[green-label]Origins:[/green-label] On 2 November 2015, Facebook user Jeffery Cash Weigand posted a story to the "Bernie Sanders for President 2016" Facebook page reporting that Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders had once charitably purchased new pair of winter boots for a homeless man:


I want to tell a local story...I am a Vermonter...have met Bernie many times at town meetings...here is the story: about 5 years back a friend of mine worked in a shoe store in Burlington....on Church Street...one day in middle of winter Bernie walked in with a homeless guy...Bernie had met him while walking and saw the man did not have good winter footwear...so anyhow....Sanders and this guy come in store...Bernie tells the clerk to fit him up with the best winter boots he can...they do this....Bernie pulls out some money and pays for it and leaves with homeless guy and shakes hands at door...end of story...no media....no anything...that IS Bernie Sanders...

Weigand's post didn't garner too much attention until it was repurposed by Twitter user @LollipopCrumbs in a version that included a verbatim copy of Weigand's post as well as two photographs of homeless people:

facebook bernie

The above-quoted story is difficult to verify since details such as the name of the shoe store, the name of the employee who handled the sale, and the identity of the homeless man are unknown. Additionally, Bernie Sanders has not commented on his alleged good deed, and the photographs included most popular iteration of the tale are completely unrelated to the story.

While it's possible that the events described in this Facebook post are accurate, it should also be noted that the message's author is relaying a second-hand account of something that took place five years ago and was told to him by someone else. Bernie Sanders may have once purchased winter boots for a homeless man, but this anecdote by itself is not proof that such an event ever took place.


[green-label]Last updated:[/green-label] 3 November 2015

[green-label]Originally published:[/green-label] 3 November 2015

Dan Evon is a former writer for Snopes.

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