Pope gets shoe shine on Cuba-bound plane

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Pope Francis Departs for Cuba

ONBOARD THE PAPAL PLANE (Reuters) -- A wealthy Mexican-American broadcaster, who shined shoes as a boy to help his single mother, gave Pope Francis's shoes a quick polish on the papal plane on Friday as a tribute to people struggling to feed their families.

Noel Diaz, 59, told the pope of his rags-to-riches story when the pontiff came to the back section of the plane to greet journalists as it was flying to Cuba.

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Pope gets shoe shine on Cuba-bound plane
Posters with pictures of missing girls are next to a picture of Pope Francis in a street of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico on February 3, 2016. Hundreds of mothers who look for her daughters, victims of the wave of violence that hit the border City of Ciudad Juarez wait for Pope Francis and demand to meet with him. AFP PHOTO/ Yuri CORTEZ / AFP / YURI CORTEZ (Photo credit should read YURI CORTEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
A black cross on pink background was painted on a light post in memory of missing girls in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico on February 3, 2016. Hundreds of mothers who look for her daughters, victims of the wave of violence that hit the border City of Ciudad Juarez wait for Pope Francis and demand to meet with him. AFP PHOTO/ Yuri CORTEZ / AFP / YURI CORTEZ (Photo credit should read YURI CORTEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
Luz del Carmen Flores (L) and Perla Reyes (R) cross a street next to a public lighting post where black crosses on pink background were painted in memory of missing girls in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico on February 3, 2016. Hundreds of mothers who look for her daughters, victims of the wave of violence that hit the border City of Ciudad Juarez wait for Pope Francis and demand to meet with him. AFP PHOTO/ Yuri CORTEZ / AFP / YURI CORTEZ (Photo credit should read YURI CORTEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
Luz del Carmen Flores, mother of disappeared Luz Angelica Mena Flores, observes the memorial wall of missing girls, one of them her daughter, in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico on February 3, 2016. Hundreds of mothers who look for her daughters, victims of the wave of violence that hit the border City of Ciudad Juarez wait for Pope Francis and demand to meet with him. AFP PHOTO/ Yuri CORTEZ / AFP / YURI CORTEZ (Photo credit should read YURI CORTEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
Perla Reyes remains by a mural with the image of her missing daughter, Joselyn Calderon Reyes, while speaking during an inteview in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico on February 2, 2016. Hundreds of mothers who look for their daughters. victims of the wave of violence that hit the border city of Ciudad Juarez, wait for the arrival of Pope Francis and demand to meet with him. AFP PHOTO/ Yuri CORTEZ / AFP / YURI CORTEZ (Photo credit should read YURI CORTEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
Posters with images of missing girls are on a post in a street of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico on February 2, 2016. Hundreds of mothers who look for her daughters, victims of the wave of violence that hit the border City of Ciudad Juarez wait for Pope Francis and demand to meet with him. AFP PHOTO/ Yuri CORTEZ / AFP / YURI CORTEZ (Photo credit should read YURI CORTEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
Susana Montes shows a paper with the picture of her missing daughter, Maria Guadalupe Perez Montes (17), while speaking during an inteview in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico on February 2, 2016. Hundreds of mothers who look for their daughters. victims of the wave of violence that hit the border city of Ciudad Juarez, wait for the arrival of Pope Francis and demand to meet with him. AFP PHOTO/ Yuri CORTEZ / AFP / YURI CORTEZ (Photo credit should read YURI CORTEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
Luz del Carmen Flores, mother of disappeared Luz Angelica Mena Flores, observes the memorial wall of missing girls, one of them her daughter, in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico on February 3, 2016. Hundreds of mothers who look for her daughters, victims of the wave of violence that hit the border City of Ciudad Juarez wait for Pope Francis and demand to meet with him. AFP PHOTO/ Yuri CORTEZ / AFP / YURI CORTEZ (Photo credit should read YURI CORTEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
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He told the pope he had shined shoes as a small boy in the Mexican border city of Tijuana to save money to buy a new shirt and trousers for his first communion, when he and his mother lived in extreme poverty.

"I was only seven years old. My mother told me we couldn't afford the clothes. I shined shoes for the next five days to make the money," he told the pope.

"I asked the pope: 'Can I shine your shoes in honor of all those people out there who really work hard every day to put bread on the table?'" Diaz later told reporters.

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