One of the most controversial Nike sneakers in history is the Nike Decade, a running sneaker that was worn by 39 members of the Heaven’s Gate cult for its earth-shattering mass-suicide in 1997. We will never know why that particular sneaker was selected by cult-leather Marshall Applewhite for this tragedy, but we do know that all members were aiming for uniformity in apparel. Nike, of course, has no hand in any of this and even went on to cancel a sneaker release in 2008 that was said to be inspired by the actual event (the “Heaven’s Gate” SB Dunks).
Almost two decades later, the story of the Nike employee who sold and hand-delivered the shoes to the cult leader has been revealed through (where else) reddit. As it turns out, the Nike sales rep was so proud of his big sale that he delivered them to the house and asked “is this for a basketball team?”, to which he was replied to with “something like that”. Said employee also came across two individuals who were similarly connected to Heaven’s Gate – a restaurant employee who served the cult their infamous last meal of iced tea and peach cobbler and an insurance salesman who sold Applewhite insurance policies for “alien abductions”. Read below to get the full story (and if you want to see photos, Google it).
I recently met the guy who worked for Nike during this time and sold the cult leader of Heavens Gate the forty something pairs of matching shoes. He was so proud of his big sale that he delivered them to his home personally. Anyone interested in hearing from him??
Edit: The mass suicide took place the day after the sale, and the guy learned the next morning via newspaper pics and coworkers that they were all wearing his shoes.
UPDATE: This guy’s not going to do an AMA (unless he’s reading this and says otherwise), but I want to tell his whole story to you guys because I love this shit and some of you will too. I might screw up some details, but whatever.
You know the beginning, he sells the cult leader the shoes. He shows him the black Nike Cortez and the guy has an organized list of sizes he needs, etc… Nike dude asks him, “Oh, is this for a basketball team or something?” Cult guy’s actual reply, “Something… like that.” They have all the shoes there but one last size, and he calls another store and finds them for him because he’s so such a great employee, and even delivers them to his address. Cut to the next day and he sees the news and he sees that the address is the exact same address he delivered the shoes to.
Over the next however many months Nike dude obviously goes through a dark time and struggles with questions like- What should I have done? Should I have known? Should I have said something or asked more questions? Etc…. Through the chaos of all of this and the court stuff he actually comes into contact with 2 other people in similar situations:
The first person is the woman who worked at a restaurant and served the cult when they came in for their “final dinner.” I know, this is nuts. They all went to a restaurant, don’t remember the name, wore the same clothes, and were very polite. All ordered the exact same meal down to the iced tea and peach cobbler for dessert. The manager of the restaurant even shook their hands as they left because they were such pleasant guests. This waitress also struggled with questions like- Should I have recognized something was wrong? Should I have said something?
The other person Nike dude met and related to was the insurance salesman who the cult leader came to days before the suicide and purchased 42 alien abduction insurance policies. (Not positive 42 was the number. Whatever it was, it matched the number of Nikes.) Obviously this was very strange, but the guy did his job and sold the insurance. He too had a lot of struggles after the suicide, obviously, about what he could have done, should he have known, etc…
The 3 of these people collaborated over the years and ended up creating the popular public safety message that I hear all the time living in a larger city with subway transit, which is- “IF YOU SEE SOMETHING, SAY SOMETHING.”
Source: cookiemonster_156 on reddit