‘Tis the season of giving, and no time was that more apparent than on a street corner in New York City earlier this month.
That’s when a tourist witnessed an NYPD officer giving a homeless man without shoes — and with blistered feed — a pair of winter boots. The photo taken of the scene, unbeknown to the officer at the time, has since gone viral.
The cellphone photo of Officer Lawrence DePrimo, snapped by Jennifer Foster of Florence, Ariz., on Nov. 14, has been made it onto news sites and blogs around the world. The photo posted on the NYPD’s official Facebook page has been liked more than 315,000 times and shared more than 74,000 times. According to the New York Times, as of Wednesday evening it had been viewed by more than 1.6 million people.
Here’s how Foster, who is the communications director for the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office in Arizona, set the scene, according to the NYPD’s post:
“Right when I was about to approach, one of your officers came up behind him. The officer said, ‘I have these size 12 boots for you, they are all-weather. Let’s put them on and take care of you.’ The officer squatted down on the ground and proceeded to put socks and the new boots on this man. The officer expected NOTHING in return and did not know I was watching. I have been in law enforcement for 17 years. I was never so impressed in my life. I did not get the officer’s name. It is important, I think, for all of us to remember the real reason we are in this line of work. The reminder this officer gave to our profession in his presentation of human kindness has not been lost on myself or any of the Arizona law enforcement officials with whom this story has been shared.”
The NYPD stated in its post that the photo had been cropped to better show the scene closer up, given that the original was taken at a further distance.
Watch this report about the photograph:
The comments on the photo, approaching the 20,000 mark, reflect positive sentiments. Here’s a snapshot of a few of them.
The Times reported the 25-year-old officer saying he could see blisters on the man’s feet. DePrimo recalled how he himself was wearing two pairs of socks and still felt cold. He said he started speaking with the homeless man and found out his shoe size. Heading into the Sketchers store, DePrimo purchased the new shoes.
But it wasn’t just DePrimo who felt compelled to help out. The Times reported Sketchers’ store manager Jose Cano gave the officer an employee discount for the originally $100 boots.
DePrimo’s action is not something he’s likely to forget anytime soon — nor does he want to. According to the Times, the officer has kept the receipt for the shoes in his pocket ever since. It reminds him “that sometimes people have it worse.”
(H/T: Daily Mail)