JESUS ADVISED US NOT TO CRITICIZE BEFORE WE WALKED A MILE IN ANOTHER’S SHOES. But what if the person we looked down upon had no shoes?
If you’re New York Police Officer Lawrence DePrimo, you buy him a pair. The police rookie has touched hearts around the world after a photograph of him gifting a pair of expensive shoes to a homeless man hit the web.
The photo was snapped Nov. 14 by Arizona resident Jennifer Florence who caught the officer red-handed performing his good deed.
When she got back home, Florence, a police communications director in Pinal County, AZ., sent a tip-of-the-hat to the NYPD, where someone reached out to get the photo for Facebook. She wrote to the NYPD:
“I have been in law enforcement for 17 years. I was never so impressed in my life. I did not get the officer’s name. It is important, I think, for all of us to remember the real reason we are in this line of work. The reminder this officer gave to our profession in 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.”
The snap was published Wednesday and has lit up the Internet; the post received 316,489 Facebook ‘likes’ by 7:14am Central time Thursday and 19,847 comments.
Until the post was published, no one knew the name of the kind officer. On Wednesday, the New York Times interviewed DePrimo, 25, who was shocked at the attention but still carrying around the receipt to remind him that “sometimes people have it worse.”
“It was freezing out and you could see the blisters on the man’s feet,” he said in the interview. “I had two pairs of socks and I was still cold.”
DePrimo has single-handedly restored faith in humanity for thousands of Facebookers and members of the public, now heaping praise on the officer who lives on Long Island with his parents. DePrimo described the homeless man as “the most polite gentleman I had met.”
DePrimo’s kindness also impressed the Skechers store manager, who gave him his employee discount to decrease the shoe price from $100 to $75. We were just kind of shocked,” Jose Cano told the Times. “Most of us are New Yorkers and we just kind of pass by that kind of thing. Especially in this neighborhood.”
Accolades are still pouring on the NYPD’s Facebook page. “God Bless them both,” wrote Terri Conte. “This officer is truly a ‘guardian angel.’ ” “Now that should be Time Magazine’s Picture of the Year,” gushed Liz Conner. And
Cristina Sperandio Woodson declared, “wow now that’s humanity.”
Here’s a sampling of reactions: