The New York City police officer who stopped to give a homeless man a pair of heavy socks and boots on a frigid November night said he first noticed the man after someone was mocking him on the street.
“Somebody was actually making fun of him, they said, ‘You’ve got no shoes,’ and that’s when I looked down at his feet and he didn’t even have a pair of socks on,” Officer Lawrence DePrimo told Fox News’ “Fox & Friends” on Friday.
DePrimo said he first approached the man and offered to buy him a pair of socks, but the man said, “No officer, but God bless you, thank you for asking.”
“Here it is, it’s freezing cold out and he has the heart to say God bless me,” DePrimo said.
That’s when he walked into a nearby shoe store and told the employee to sell him whatever their best boot was. The worker was apparently so moved that he offered him the employee discount.
DePrimo said he ducked out of the store to first ask the man for his shoe size before making the purchase.
“I surprised him, I said listen, I have this pair of boots, they’re in your size,” he said. “When I was sitting down helping him put on the boots he just said, ‘Thank you officer,’ he said, ‘God bless you and you know, stay safe and thank you for doing what you’re doing, you’ve done enough already.’”
DePrimo didn’t know it, but a visiting tourist snapped a photo of kind act, an image that has since gone viral, earning more than 500,000 “likes” on Facebook.
Jennifer Foster, herself a dispatch manager at the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office in Arizona, said on Facebook that she’s worked in law enforcement for 17 years and has never been so impressed.
“He did not see us, he did not see me and he had boots in his hand and I heard him quite clearly say, ‘I have these size-12 all-weather boots for you, let’s take care of you’ and the gentleman sat down against the wall and I’m telling you, his face lit up,” Foster told a local news station.
DePrimo said New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly gave him a set of his personal cufflinks for his deed.
“As a police officer and just as another human being, you know, you want to help this gentleman and I think that’s something a lot of people don’t realize, you know things like this happen every day,” DePrimo said.