NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A New York City police officer’s act of kindness has gone viral.
Arizona tourist Jennifer Foster took a snapshot of Officer Larry DePrimo giving a barefoot man a new pair of all-weather boots and thermal socks in Times Square on Nov. 14.
WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond reports
DePrimo was stationed at his foot post at the corner of 44th Street and Broadway that frigid night when he noticed an elderly homeless man, shoeless, on the sidewalk.
“I went up to him and I was like, ‘where are your shoes?’ He said ‘it’s OK officer…I’ve never had a pair of shoes…but God bless you and thank you for doing what you’re doing,'” DePrimo told 1010 WINS’ Al Jones.
The officer, 25, went to the Sketchers shoe store nearby and purchased $100 all-weather boots and socks for the man.
“When I brought out the shoes, it was just a smile from ear to ear, so it was absolutely amazing,” DePrimo told WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond.
The officer said he did not notice anyone around him taking a picture of his good deed.
“I didn’t really expect anything of it, I walked away and I went back to my foot post. I told my mother and that was it,” DePrimo said. “She cried about it and she was very happy.”
1010 WINS’ Al Jones reports
DePrimo said he offered to buy the homeless man coffee or a meal, but the man just thanked him.
The officer, who lives on Long Island, said he still carries around the $100 receipt in his bulletproof vest.
“You see something like this and you remember that people have it worse. There’s thousands of people still out there without power, without homes and it’s upsetting and I think it’s important to have a reminder like that. There’s something to remember,” DePrimo told Diamond.
The photograph became an instant hit after it was posted on the NYPD’s Facebook page.
As of Thursday evening, the picture had generated more than 417,000 likes, had been shared more than 138,000 times and had received more than 30,000 comments.
Foster said she was visiting “The Crossroads of the World” with her husband when she saw the man on the sidewalk asking for change, but DePrimo came up with something better.
“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,'” Foster said in a post on the NYPD’s Facebook page.
DePrimo then squatted down and put the footwear on the man.
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly gave DePrimo a pair of his gold cuff links and the thanks of the entire Department at a ceremony on Thursday.
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