NYPD officer gives homeless man shoes

Nov. 30, 2012 at 4:24 PM

NEW YORK, Nov. 30 (UPI) -- A New York City police officer became famous when he was spotted by a tourist giving a homeless man a pair of shoes, but he says he was just doing his job.

A photo of NYPD officer Larry DePrimo, 25, giving a barefoot homeless man a pair of boots was posted Tuesday on the NYPD's Facebook page and has since been shared more than 133,000 times and "Liked" by more than 409,000 people, New York Daily News reported.

"When you're a police officer, you're just out there to help people," DePrimo said. "And in situations like this, you just do what you have to do."

The picture was taken in Times Square Nov. 14.

On that night, DePrimo said he was manning a post at West 44th Street and Broadway.

"I looked over and someone was laughing at this elderly gentleman who had no socks [and] no shoes," he said. "You could see the blisters from a distance."

DePrimo said he asked the man what size shoe he wore, then went into a nearby Sketchers store and purchased a $100 pair of all-weather boots.

"It was really inspiring to see someone take 5 minutes out of their work day to do something small that can become something big," store manager Jose Cano, 28, said.

DePrimo carried the boots and a pair of thermal socks to the man, who was standing outside.

Jennifer Foster, who was visiting from Florence, Ariz., with her husband, captured the moment with a cellphone camera.

"The officer expected NOTHING in return and did not know I was watching," Foster wrote with her Facebook post.

DePrimo's gesture left John Harry, who is homeless, in awe.

"That's mighty nice of that cop," Harry, 65, said. "Last time someone gave me new shoes, I think I was 10 years old."

DePrimo, who was given a set of NYPD commissioner cuff links for his kind deed, described the experience as "humbling."

"I think it's an important reminder," he said. "You see something like this and you remember that people have it worse."

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