NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — The New York City homeless man — whose gift of boots from an NYPD police officer became an online sensation — is back on the streets with no shoes.
The New York Times found him Sunday night wandering barefoot in Manhattan. The paper identified him as Jeffrey Hillman, formerly of South Plainfield, N.J.
Asked about the $100 all-weather boots Officer Larry DePrimo gave him, Hillman said he has hidden them because “they are worth a lot of money,” adding “I could lose my life.”
He said he was grateful for the gift, but he wants “a piece of the pie” because the photo was posted online “without permission.”
Officer DePrimo, 25, was stationed at his foot post at the corner of 44th Street and Broadway on November 14 when he noticed the elderly and shoeless homeless man on the sidewalk.
DePrimo asked Hillman where his shoes were, to which he replied “I’ve never had a pair of shoes, but God bless you.”
DePrimo went into a nearby Sketchers shoe store and bought the boots, along with socks for Hillman.
“When I brought out the shoes, it was just a smile from ear to ear, so it was absolutely amazing,” DePrimo said last week.
An Arizona tourist snapped the photo of the officer presenting the new boots to Hillman.
It went viral after it was posted on the NYPD’s Facebook page.
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