By now you’ve probably seen the picture and/or heard about NYPD Officer Lawrence DePrimo’s random act of kindness (seen below).
If you didn’t, a few weeks ago, NYPD Officer DePrimo saw a man who didn’t have any shoes or socks on — it was 35 degrees outside. After inquiring and hearing that the man did not have any shoes or socks, Officer DePrimo proceeded to a nearby Skechers shoe store and bought a sturdy pair of winter boots and socks. These cost him, $75, all out of his own pocket. He did this out of the kindness of his own heart and appreciation and concern for the welfare of his fellow-man. (The manager of the Skechers store was also said to have provided his manager’s discount to reduce the cost (to the $75) when he heard what the officer planned to do.)
The act was caught by NYC tourist, Jennifer Foster, who posted it to her Facebook page, which quickly went viral. You can read more in this NY Times article (just one of many) covering this story.
I love random acts of kindness. They truly show the character of who we are, when we give selflessly, especially when (we think) no one else is looking.
To be honest though, I did have some reservations when I first heard about this story. Don’t get me wrong, I love random acts of kindness, but I wondered if it lessened what Officer DePrimo did to a degree or if it would discourage him from doing something similar again because it was publicized. Could there be any negative repercussions due to the publicity? Or… could Jennifer Foster’s Facebook post actually inspire others to give at this time of year, versus only expecting to get? From what I heard in the many interviews, Officer DePrimo just simply seems to be a stand-up guy who would do it again in a heartbeat; it’s just who he is.
Unfortunate Turn of Events
I did unfortunately read about some negative repercussions today, and surprisingly they were from the homeless man who received the boots, Jeffrey Hillman. In a (12/3/12) NY Times article, Mr. Hillman said that while he was moved and appreciative of Officer DePrimo’s actions and the public’s response, he was taken aback by the posting of his picture (without his consent) and that he now has concerns that he will be harmed while wearing the boots. He has taken to walking barefoot again and has hidden the boots in a “safe” place.
I can only hope that Mr. Hillman can be persuaded to change his mind and that his response to Officer DePrimo’s generosity will not dissuade others from performing random acts of kindness to help others.