The man is pointed out to Desmond. ("Flashes Before Your Eyes")  (promotional still)

Eloise Hawking pointed out a man wearing red shoes to Desmond as an illustration of her belief of course-correction.

After revealing to Desmond that she knew about him and his future path, Ms. Hawking called attention to this bystander's red shoes, noting that it was a "bold fashion choice worth noting." The rest of his attire was business wear, including a black trench coat and hat. The man was soon killed by falling scaffolding, and only his red shoes were visible protruding from the debris. Despite claiming to know this man was going to die, Ms. Hawking claimed that trying to save the man's life would have been futile, since he would have died by other means anyway. She used this incident to re-emphasize to Desmond that his path was to go to the Island. ("Flashes Before Your Eyes")


  • The man's shoes are PF Flyers, the shoes guaranteed to make the wearer "run faster and jump higher." Beneath the insole of one shoe in each pair of PF Flyers produced after 2001, one may find a slip of material bearing the phrase "Sometimes a closed door is the best invitation."
  • Despite the importance of this character to the plot of "Flashes Before Your Eyes", John Williamson, who played the role, was uncredited in the episode, because he did not have any spoken lines.
  • The 1939 MGM film The Wizard of Oz features a pair of famous red slippers. In this film, the wicked witch of the east, the original owner of the shoes, also dies from being crushed accidentally (she is flattened by Dorothy's falling house). When she is seen dead, only her feet and red shoes are visible from beneath the house, strongly echoed in the way this man's shoes were the only thing that protruded from the scaffolding (although in the original Frank Baum novel, the shoes were silver).

Unrelated cultural references

  • The man wearing red shoes can be considered a "redshirt," a type of stock character whose primary purpose in the plot is to die shortly after being introduced.
  • In The Man With One Red Shoe, Tom Hanks plays the title character who is marked for misfortune because of the notable fashion choice. A prank left the man with only the mismatched shoes. Later, a secret service agent (charged with identifying a random stranger as a spy for decoy purposes) noticed the one red shoe and chose the hapless wearer over everyone else in the crowd.
  • In the Schrödinger's Cat trilogy, sequel to The Illuminatus! Trilogy, there is repeated reference to girders falling indiscriminately on just and unjust men, killing them.
  • A Woman in Red is introduced in the film The Matrix, as one character is explaining the nature of existence. Similarly, there is a suspicious element of artificiality to the red shoes marking out someone to whom Desmond is supposed to pay attention. The Woman in Red's purpose was to point out the artificiality of the environment to Neo.
  • In the movie Schindler's List (a black-and-white movie), color only appears twice. The first instance is a little girl running in the ghetto during a Nazi raid, wearing red. She appears again later in the movie as a corpse, after being dug up by the Nazis to be burned, wearing the little red coat.
  • In The Sixth Sense, the color red appears when the world of the living and the world of the dead cross over.
  • In Stir of Echoes, the color red appears to warn the main character that his young son is in danger.
  • In the film Sin City, the color red is also significant and appears when a character is going to die.

Unanswered questions

See also