A snapshot of a spontaneous gesture of kindness, depicting an NYPD officer donating some boots to a homeless man has gone viral. The photo took social media by storm, attracting millions of views and sparking a wave of comments praising the officer.
Officer Lawrence DePrimo, 25, was caught on camera when he stumbled upon a barefooted homeless man on Time Square on November 14.
“It was freezing out and you could see the blisters on the man’s feet,” the he told the New York Times. “I had two pairs of socks and I was still cold.”
After speaking to the man DePrimo found out his shoe size was the same as his own. He subsequently went to a nearby shoe store and returned with a pair of sturdy winter boots, which he slipped on to the homeless man’s bare feet.
The officer then offered the man a coffee, but “as soon as the boots were on him, he went on his way, and I just went back to my post.”
A tourist from Arizona caught the moment on camera in a blurry photo which she forwarded to the NYPD’s Facebook page. The snapshot has provoked an unprecedented response, generating over 300,000 ‘likes’ and almost 20,000 comments praising the unexpected generosity of the police officer.
“A gift straight from his heart. This officer is an absolute blessing to everyone around him. Not just his brothers on the force but for the city that he protects and loves. I wish there were many more like this man,” wrote one Facebook user.
Not all of the comments were positive, however, with some questioning the officer’s motives or branding the photo as a propaganda stunt.
“Propaganda crap! COP just happens to keep a pair of boots hanging on his neck with the pepper spray, baton, Glock and a pair of handcuffs just in case,” said one of the rare negative comments.