For once, the NYPD has a viral hit that it can be proud of. On Tuesday, the department posted a picture taken by a tourist from Arizona showing an anonymous officer helping a barefoot homeless man put on boots. “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 photographer Jennifer Foster, herself in law enforcement, wrote of the touching moment. “The officer squatted down on the ground and proceeded to put socks and the new boots on this man.” The picture has since racked up more than 1.6 million views and 320,000 “likes,” prompting the New York Times to get the rest of the story.
The officer is 25-year-old Lawrence DePrimo, who was working in Times Square on the night of November 14. “It was freezing out and you could see the blisters on the man’s feet,” he said. “I had two pairs of socks and I was still cold.”
After chatting with the homeless man, who remains anonymous, DePrimo went into a nearby Skechers store to commit a random act of kindness, completely unaware it would be documented. “We were just kind of shocked,” the shoe store’s manager told the Times. “Most of us are New Yorkers and we just kind of pass by that kind of thing. Especially in this neighborhood.”
Touched, he gave DePrimo his employee discount, bringing the boots down to $75 instead of $100. The officer said he’s kept the receipt in his pocket ever since “to remind me that sometimes people have it worse.”