independent

Monday 21 April 2014

NY officer's kindness an online hit

New York City police officer Larry DePrimo presents a barefoot homeless man in New York's Times Square with boots (Jennifer Foster/AP)

A tourist's photograph of a New York City police officer giving new boots to a barefoot homeless man in Times Square has created an online sensation.

Jennifer Foster was visiting the city with her boyfriend on November 14 when she came across the shoeless man asking for change. As she was about to approach, she said the officer - identified as Larry DePrimo - came up to the man with a pair of all-weather boots and thermal socks on the frigid night.

She recorded his generosity on her mobile phone. The photo shows the officer kneeling beside the man with the boots at his feet.

The photo was posted on Tuesday night to the NYPD's official Facebook page and became an instant hit. More than 325,000 users "liked" it as of Thursday morning, and more than 79,000 shared it. Thousands of people commented, including one person who praised him as "An officer AND a Gentleman."

The NYPD Facebook page on Thursday posted a comment from Mr DePrimo saying: "I didn't think anything of it."

The homeless man has not been identified.

"'I have these size 12 boots for you, they are all-weather. Let's put them on and take care of you,'" Ms Foster quoted Mr DePrimo as saying. "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."

Ms Foster said she has worked in law enforcement for 17 years and has never been more impressed.

"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," Ms Foster wrote on Facebook. She said she never got the officer's name.

Mr DePrimo told the Newsday newspaper that the homeless man "smiled from ear to ear" after getting the boots. "It was like you gave him a million dollars," he added. He told The New York Times that he keeps the receipt for the boots in his vest to remind him "that sometimes people have it worse".

Press Association

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