Picture of NYPD Officer Giving Boots to a Barefoot Man Goes Viral

Maggie McDonald

On November 14th, New York police officer Lawrence DePrimo, was working a counter-terrorism post in times square when he bought barefooted Jeffery Hillman, a new pair of boots.

“This is the most polite gentlemen I’ve ever met” Officer DePrimo told the Today show “I knew I had to help him'”

This act of kindness would have gone unnoticed if it wasn’t for Arizona tourist Jennifer Foster, who quickly snapped a picture of the good deed and emailed it the New York Police Department’s official Facebook page on November 27.

“The officer squatted down on the ground and proceeded to put socks and the new boots on this man” wrote Foster, who works for Public Safety Communications Division of the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office in Arizona, “The officer expected NOTHING in return and did not know I was watching.”

By the next day, the photo had over 275,000 likes and had been viewed over 1.6 million times according to the New York Times. .

“When I saw the picture,” said Alanna Kilroy, a FHS junior “it made me feel happy knowing that there are people who really do care in this world.”

Officer DePrimo bought the shoes with his own money at a Skechers store in times square. The boots were originally $100 but the mangers were able to give Officer DePrimo a 25% discount.

But who was the man that received the boots?

Jeffery Hillman, 54, was interviewed on sunday by New York Times writers Marc Santora and Alex Vadukul. Hillman is an Army vet and he can barely get by on his military pension.

Santora and Vadukul found Hillman walking down Broadway bare footed on his heels.

“Those shoes are hidden. They are worth a lot of money,” said Hillman when asked about his bare feet “I could lose my life”

Hillman was greatful for the all-weather boots but he is still trying to figure out what to do with all the attention.

“I was put on YouTube, I was put on everything without permission. What do I get? I want a piece of the pie.” he said “I appreciate what the officer did, don’t get me wrong, I wish there were more people like him in the world.”

Hillman, originally from New Jersey, joined the army in 1978 and served as a food service specialist in Germany and the U.S. He showed Santora and Vadukul a worn out vetrens ID card to prove his service.

But Hillman’s past gets complicated. On Monday, The Daily News reported that Hillman isn’t homeless according to New York City’s Department of Homeless Services.

Hillman has an apartment in the bronx that is paid for by a federal Section 8 voucher, social security disability, and vetrens benefits.

“Over the past year, Mr. Hillman has had housing through a Department of Veterans Affairs program that provides rental assistance and clinical services to homeless veterans. Outreach teams from the Department of Homeless Services continue to attempt to work with him, but he has a history of turning down services.” said Barbara Brancaccio, a spokeswomen for Department of Homeless Services.

But does this new information change peoples view on the good deed?

“The officer probably didn’t know that the man was not actually homeless” Kilroy added “seeing [Hillman] lying on the cold ground without shoes must have made the officer want to buy him the shoes without thinking about other things like money or whether or not the man was homeless”

What do you think about Officer Deprimo's act of kindness?


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