On Nov. 14, NYPD Officer Larry DePrimo was assigned to counter-terrorism patrol near New York City’s Times Square. The 25-year-old, who has logged two years on the force, takes the concept of “protect and serve” very seriously.
When he saw a homeless man with bare feet in freezing weather, he asked the man’s shoe size and then went into a nearby store to buy him water-proof winter boots, paying the $75 out of his own pocket.
When he came back, the tourist who captured the photo heard him say:
I have these size 12 boots for you, they are all-weather. Let’s put them on and take care of you.
DePrimo had no way of knowing that his act would soon by broadcast to the whole country. Since the picture was posted to the New York Police Department’s Facebook page, it has received more than 586,000 likes, and more than 213,000 “shares.”
DePrimo said he has since kept the receipt for the boots in his vest to remind him that “sometimes people have it worse.”
When the Today Show hosts asked him why he did what he did, DePrimo replied that he was thinking about the frigid temperature that night and how the homeless man was “the most polite gentleman” he’d ever met. “I knew I had to help him,” DePrimo said, “I really didn’t think about the money.”
As far as the massive amount of attention his random act of generosity has received, DePrimo calls the experience surreal and says he’s glad to hear that his action has made some people feel like “their faith in humanity has been restored.”
See the Today Show interview below; the DePrimo interview starts at 2m35s: