NEW YORK, NY — One tourist’s photograph, among the countless snapped every day in the Big Apple, has gone viral. The moment captured is one of generosity, and since it was posted on Tuesday, it has circled the globe and brought a lot of attention to one young New York City cop.
Had it not been for a tourist from Arizona who snapped the photo with her cell phone, Officer Lawrence DePrimo’s act of kindness, giving boots to a homeless man, may have gone unnoticed. Tourist Jennifer Foster emailed the photo to the NYPD and they posted it to their Facebook page. Tens of thousands of comments followed.
DePrimo says he had no idea it was going to be such a big deal. The 25-year-old officer was on patrol in Times Square on a cold night two weeks ago when he saw the homeless man with bare feet. He says, “You could see the blisters were about the size of my hands. My heart just went out to this man. I didn’t think anything of it. I just went towards him, asked him if he wanted a pair of socks. He said no, but thanks and God bless you for asking. And that I found amazing. Here he didn’t even have a pair of socks to his name and he had the heart to say God bless me. It was absolutely, it was just inspiring.”
Officer DePrimo went to a Sketchers store to get the man boots and had to run back out to ask the man for his size, he was a 12. Manager Jose Cano offered his employee discount to the officer. Cano says, “We realized, you know, this is a cop on the beat, you know. He’s just passing by. And it just, it came naturally for us to try and want to help, make the best out of the situation.”
DePrimo never found out the name of the man he helped, but he remembers his reaction. “He looked me right in the face and the smile just went from ear to ear. And again he said God bless me and he said, you know, be safe. And I just couldn’t believe what was coming out of his mouth. You know, for such a small gesture, you know, he was so appreciative.”
The officer says he keeps the receipt in his bulletproof vest as a reminder of those less fortunate. “If it pushes somebody else to go out and do another kind act towards another person, then I’m going to sleep well tonight. It’s absolutely amazing to me.”