A New York police officer’s spontaneous act of kindness has captured the praise of hundreds of thousands of people across the internet.
A tourist from Arizona captured a heartwarming photo of Lawrence Deprimo kneeling down to give a barefoot homeless man a pair of winter boots on a cold night earlier this month.
The NYPD posted the photo on its Facebook page, an effort to show the softer side of the nation’s largest police force.
Nearly 300,000 people have ‘liked’ the photo online. Another 65,000 people have shared it.
Officer Deprimo said he was patrolling Times Square in the heart of Manhattan when he came across the man, who was huddled next to a storefront with nothing on his feet, the New York Times reports.
‘It was freezing out and you could see the blisters on the man’s feet,’ the officer told the Times. ‘I had two pairs of socks and I was still cold.’
Officer Deprimo said he talked to the homeless man and found out his shoe size: 12.
He watched the man stand up and walk slowly, painfully, down the cold pavement of the sidewalk on the balls of his feet.
The 25-year-old officer went into a nearby Sketcher’s store and found a $100 pair of winter boots that he believed would keep the man warm through the winter.
The clerk, moved to the story, gave the officer his employee discount – 25 percent off.
Officer Deprimo said he keeps the $75 receipt as a reminder that ‘sometimes people have it worse.’
Deprimo, who lives on Long Island with his parents, joined the force in 2010.
The photo was taken by Jennifer Foster, a 911 dispatcher from from Pinal County, Arizona, who was in New York for Thanksgiving.
When she got home, she emailed the photo to the NYPD, which posted it to the department’s Facebook page.
She said she took the picture because the scene reminded her of her own father, a 32-year veteran of the Phoenix police department. She remembers as a child watching him give food to a homeless man.
‘He squatted down, just like this officer,’ she told the Times.