An image of a kindly young NYPD officer giving a cold homeless man a new pair of warm boots has gone viral after it spread on Facebook and Reddit, and the twenty-something beat cop has been stunned by the reaction the internet has given the arresting image.
The NYPD officer giving new boots to an unnamed, barefoot homeless man is 25-year-old Long Islander Officer Lawrence DePrimo, who had been assigned to a counterterrorism beat the night the pic was snapped by a tourist from Arizona.
The nice young NYPD cop who gives the homeless man his shoes normally patrols the West Village, but, that fateful evening, Officer DePrimo had been assigned to Times Square. And the moment would likely have been one lost to the hustle and bustle of the city had it not been for the photographer’s decision to write to the NYPD’s official Facebook page — see something, say something.
Foster relates that she spotted the NYPD officer’s act of kindness as she was about to give the homeless man some change. She said:
“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.”
“It was freezing out and you could see the blisters on the man’s feet … I had two pairs of socks and I was still cold.”
Shoe store employee Jose Cano says that he gave the cop a discount on the boots given the homeless man, and the receipt is one DePrimo carries with him, he says “to remind me that sometimes people have it worse.”
Even more heartwrenchingly, DePrimo explains that he offered the homeless man a cup of coffee as well as the boots and says:
“He was the most polite gentleman I had met … as soon as the boots were on him, he went on his way, and I just went back to my post.”
You can view the image of the NYPD officer giving a homeless man new boots and share it yourself over on Facebook.