Home > Uncategorized > One human being helps another

One human being helps another

Officer Lawrence DePrimo of the New York Police Department, photographed on a tourist’s cell phone.  The 25 year old officer bought the homeless man boots at a nearby shoe store; the photograph, placed on NYPD’s Facebook page on Tuesday, is now viral.


The tourist wrote NYPD; she is quoted at the NYPD’s Facebook page:

She writes, “Right when I was about to approach, one of your officers came up behind him. The officer said, ‘I have these size 12 boots for you, they are all-weather. Let’s put them on and take care of you.’ 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’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.”

(Full disclosure, for what it’s worth: the tourist works as a communications director at the Pinal County, AZ sheriff’s department and is the daughter of a police officer.)

  1. Bill D
    November 29, 2012 at 2:19 pm

    The bum then will be selling his new shoes on the street so he’d have money for sht beer.

  2. November 29, 2012 at 2:30 pm

    Funny, I’d been expecting the first commenter to find a reason to bash cops. But this will have to do, I suppose. At least it’s still negative. Thanks, Bill D.

    As long as the world continues to have at least some Lawrence DePrimo’s, we can all survive the Bill D’s.

  3. Anonymous
    November 29, 2012 at 5:06 pm

    I second Bill D. add me to his list.

  4. HUUFC
    November 29, 2012 at 5:07 pm

    I second Bill D. Add me to the list.

  5. Goldie
    November 29, 2012 at 5:15 pm

    I very much like the title of this post………. One human being helps another. Thank you officer in New York. Thank you person who took the picture. Thank you Mitch for posting it.

  6. Walt
    November 29, 2012 at 5:52 pm

    The point is the cop did the decent thing. He didn’t ask what the guy was going to do with the boots, he just acted like a human. We need a WHOLE lot more of that. And it’s cool that it went viral. . .other people think that’s a decent thing to do also.

  7. sista
    November 29, 2012 at 6:33 pm

    saw this story on nightly news. The officer had tears in his eyes. Human kindness is a beautiful thing.

  8. Plain Jane
    November 29, 2012 at 7:34 pm

    It’s the way people react to little things like this that demonstrate their world view. That some people have such a hateful view of others that they can’t see the beauty in a selfless act of kindness is really sad. I would rather be the guy with no shoes than the guy with no heart.

  9. steak n eggs
    November 29, 2012 at 7:35 pm

    Thanks for sharing. This story brought tears to my eyes.

  10. November 29, 2012 at 8:34 pm

    Probably a “Jesus Freak,” Ha!, but seriously, a good person.

  11. November 29, 2012 at 9:21 pm

    No, I don’t think that, moviedad, though appreciating your comment.

    I can remember an earlier New York, which in an instance like this no doubt recurs. I would get up in the dawn, being there on a project. All through the streets would be these bodies lying in postures you could not tell from death, in the black long coats which were their uniform, Some near gratings of course, and others where they fell. The diseases were alcohol and despair, as over a history, and they were at that time just part of the scene.

    Those days were before HIV, and so you didn’t have to think about such things. I’d lived in very third-world Asia for years, and was used to poverty and beggars, though these men did not, and if you ever are used to such things, but you learn a balance with it.

    And then one of the mornings there was this particular older fellow, tall and raw-boned as I still remember him, not too solidly in the world around him, and staggering a bit with an awful sore on his ankle like some of those beggars who cultivate such things.

    I kind of took one look at him, and then found a drugstore nearby, bought some hydrogen peroxide, iodine, bandage material, cotton, and tape. Again without this day’s health risks, it was no trouble to treat him. He watched relatively vacantly, and may have thanked me once I had it all secured; don’t remember, and doesn’t matter. I know he knew, especially I knew he would be better, and that was enough.

    It’s really kind of a simple thing. When we don’t have to wrap other stories around it. We do have the real ones in recent years, like the HIV, and it’s my opinion that those have reached out to drag in many more, hence our much more severe alienations. I think we all struggle with how to get back to that relative garden, having these show-stoppers in mind. The economy rabble-babble is certainly like that.

  12. November 29, 2012 at 10:51 pm

    Thanks for sharing that story Narration. I think it’s good for us all to hear people’s stories of quiet and private kindnesses, if only as partial antidote to the daily news.

  13. Matt
    November 29, 2012 at 11:32 pm

    HUUFC :
    I second Bill D. Add me to the list.

    In keeping with the spirit of the season, I recommend you three re-read the Parable of the Good Samaritan –

    — Luke 10:30–37, World English Bible:

    Jesus answered, “A certain man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who both stripped him and beat him, and departed, leaving him half dead. By chance a certain priest was going down that way. When he saw him, he passed by on the other side. In the same way a Levite also, when he came to the place, and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he travelled, came where he was. When he saw him, he was moved with compassion, came to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. He set him on his own animal, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, and gave them to the host, and said to him, ‘Take care of him. Whatever you spend beyond that, I will repay you when I return.’ Now which of these three do you think seemed to be a neighbour to him who fell among the robbers?”

    He said, “He who showed mercy on him.”

    Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do.”

  14. November 30, 2012 at 7:36 am

    The more professional the police are, the more likely they are to respect human rights. It’s all in the training. If we’re ok with our police having a GED (no offense, I have one) and their only experience being in the prisons, we’ll get cops like the pepper-spray guy who violate people’s rights as a matter of course. But if we demand that our police be trained to exercise restraint and show respect; then I believe we get good people in the ranks who do not see the public as something “other.”
    We need good people to be police officers. Being a good soldier is not enough.They have to be sociologists, counselors, social-workers, mental-health workers, martial-artists and also good Samaratins. That’s a lot to ask of one person. But that is the job.
    I’m very glad that this man’s good-deed has gained national attention. Just as when acts of brutality under the cover of authority cause a de-stabilization of our country, I feel that an act of kindness can help bring us back together and remind us that we are all in this together.

  15. Gil Yule
    November 30, 2012 at 7:40 am

    I love the spirit of this post, want to take it at face value and hate adding to all the negativity and basic lack of humanity going on in the thread but I have read elsewhere that it was no coincidence that the shoeless guy placed himself near the entrance to a shoe store…just saying.

  16. November 30, 2012 at 7:57 am


    I suppose there will always be some who develop ways to prey on human kindness, and it’s not out of the question that such is in evidence here.

    The more important story is that there will always be those who are moved out of human kindness, and such people exist everywhere.

    The question for each of us is how to avoid becoming so trapped in our cynicism that we numb our innate desire to be kind to those we find in vulnerable positions. I’m sure it’s no coincidence that the officer in this story is 25 and not 40.

    Worst case scenario for this officer is that he’s out $75 in aid of a polite yet somewhat crazy person, one who has chosen to wander around without shoes in bitter cold in order to attract mercy. I’m going to bet that the officer was aware of the possibility you raise, yet decided it was worth the bargain. Every time you justify your non-response in such a situation, you harden your heart a little bit.

    Those who camouflage themselves as vulnerable in order to prey on those who are kind are doing damage to humanity. I suspect police officers are among those who have the heaviest exposure to such people, just as they have the heaviest exposure to violence. It doesn’t surprise me when officers seem to become cynical after a decade (or a month). It thrills me when I see this pretty undeniable evidence of the instinct for kindness in a young police officer.

  17. craig
    November 30, 2012 at 8:45 am

    Jesus said to take care of the poor and needy, so it is our job to do so. Sure some will take advantage of the generosity, but not all. God called us to help, and when we do, we are obeying one of the most important commandments. Just be happy to help, You never know what will come next.

  18. November 30, 2012 at 9:02 am


    It is our job Jesus or no Jesus, Yahweh or no Yahweh, Zeus or no Zeus. If you wish, by all means help because Jesus said to do so. But I find it at least equally honorable to help because of what’s in your own heart and mind. After all, you wouldn’t want to stop helping just because you discover Zeus is a myth.

  19. Plain Jane
    November 30, 2012 at 9:44 am

    The issue here isn’t whether the barefoot man was “deserving” or “scamming” to get footwear, but the thoughtful and very generous gift to a stranger in need. The motives of the receiver are moot.

  20. November 30, 2012 at 10:28 am

    The hell with Bill D. Stories about good cops never see to make the paper.

  21. janelle
    November 30, 2012 at 11:16 am

    Bill D :
    The bum then will be selling his new shoes on the street so he’d have money for sht beer.

    I read that the good officer said his feet were cold with two pairs of socks and heavy boots. You are assuming that the man is an alcoholic, and he may well be and you may be correct about what happens to the boots. I would bet that the person who gets the boots would also need them and would not otherwise have such a nice pair.

    Bill, May you never be faced with the choice of a slight reduction of pain or the temporary elimination of it.

  22. Squeegie
    November 30, 2012 at 8:10 pm

    Yup, the cop probably addressed himself using a phrase like…”whuddup bruddah” and wanted to shake the wookie’s hand. If I was in that position,I would’ve been SOL because I have 16 feet. I could never find an affordable pair in Eureka. I would always have to get it special ordered.Wally World changed all that! Now I really feel like an American. The cop probably robbed some drug dealers ten minutes before he ran into this poor schlub. Shit,you never know if the cop kopped a twenty sack from the guy. Good cops is dying breed!

  23. December 2, 2012 at 3:20 pm

    Jesus! It isn’t ‘going viral’ – though it’s the same instinct. We have right here in So Hum. quite a few people who are committed to doing this sort of thing HERE. And they are reviled and often the targets of much abuse. Nimby even for kindness……….

  24. Just Watchin
    December 3, 2012 at 12:54 pm

    Too bad. Looks like some of the posters were right. And he also wants “a piece of the pie”.

  25. December 3, 2012 at 1:04 pm

    Thanks for the update.

    The New York TImes tracked him down and discovered, among other thing, that he’s a veteran. He says he’s hidden the gift, for which he expressed gratitude. Gee, perhaps he’s mentally ill, dyathink? Would that mean that his health and welfare are no concern of “proper” people?

    As I said earlier, this story is about the kindness of Officer DePrimo.


  26. Plain Jane
    December 3, 2012 at 1:31 pm

    Homeless people get their belongings stolen (and confiscated by the police) all the time. Hiding them to keep them probably makes sense at a street survival level. And yes, Mitch. This is about the kindness of the giver, not the worthiness of the receiver.

  27. Just Watchin
    December 3, 2012 at 2:04 pm

    It is about the kindness of the giver, but I’m guessing the shoes make it to ebay. Like he said…..he wants a piece of the pie.

  28. Just Watchin
    December 6, 2012 at 2:35 pm
  29. December 6, 2012 at 2:43 pm


    One more time.

    There are easier ways to make money than wandering around shoeless in downtown New York on a cold November night. The man is mentally ill, as are many, many of the long term homeless. That doesn’t take away from what the officer did for him.

    I’m glad he has housing.

    There are several approaches a person can take: one is to decide that there are so many “undeserving people” pretending to need help that one’s initial response should be to ignore those who ask for help. Another is to decide that there may be some “deserving people” who need help, and see if one can help them, at the risk of helping some who are “undeserving.” Still another, chosen by some saints, is to decide that anyone asking for help might need help, without worrying about who’s “deserving” and who’s not.

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