ASK iAN * AN ULTIMATE GOOD
Jennifer Foster of Florence, AZ was visiting Times Square with her husband Nov. 14 when they saw a shoeless man asking for change. She writes, ‚ÄúRight when I was about to approach, one of your officers came up behind him. The officer said, ‚Äė
I have these size 12 boots for you, they are all-weather. Let‚Äôs put them on and take care of you.‚Äô 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*. I have been in law enforcement for 17 years. I was never so impressed in my life. I did not get the officer‚Äôs 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.‚ÄĚ
Our thanks to the Fosters for their attention and appreciation, and especially to this officer, who remains anonymous.
On a cold November night in Times Square, Officer Lawrence DePrimo was working a counterterrorism post when he encountered an older, barefooted homeless man. The officer disappeared for a moment, then returned with a new pair of boots, and knelt to help the man put them on.
Officer DePrimo, 25, who joined the department in 2010 and lives with his parents on Long Island, was shocked at the attention. He was not warned before the photo went online; the department had not learned which officer was in the picture until hours later.
The officer, normally assigned to the Sixth Precinct in the West Village, readily recalled the encounter. ‚ÄúIt was freezing out and you could see the blisters on the man‚Äôs feet,‚ÄĚ he said in an interview. ‚ÄúI had two pairs of socks and I was still cold.‚ÄĚ They started talking; he found out the man‚Äôs shoe size: 12.
As the man walked slowly down Seventh Avenue on his heels, Officer¬†DePrimo went into a Skechers shoe store at about 9:30 p.m. ‚ÄúWe were just kind of shocked,‚ÄĚ said Jose Cano, 28, a manager working at the store that night. ‚ÄúMost of us are New Yorkers and we just kind of pass by that kind of thing. Especially in this neighborhood.‚ÄĚ
Mr. Cano volunteered to give the officer his employee discount to bring down the regular $100 price of the all-weather boots to a little more than $75. The officer has kept the receipt in his vest since then, he said, ‚Äúto remind me that sometimes people have it worse.‚ÄĚ
As for the man he helped, Officer¬†DePrimo never got his name, and he could not be immediately located on Wednesday. ‚ÄúHe was the most polite gentleman I had met,‚ÄĚ the officer said, adding that the man‚Äôs face lit up at the sight of the boots. Officer¬†DePrimo offered him a cup of coffee, but ‚Äúas soon as the boots were on him, he went on his way, and I just went back to my post.‚ÄĚ
Big Chief Thanx to Amanda Leigh & J. David Goodman @ The NY Times