A New York City-area homeless man got a visit from Santa this year, but he was dressed like a police officer.
PEOPLE reports that when NYPD officer Larry DePrimo encountered a barefoot, homeless man on his Times Square patrol on
the cold night of Nov. 14, the policeman went to a nearby Skechers store–where a store employee used his staff discount to cut the price to $75–bought a pair of $100 boots and presented them to the man.
Coincidentally, Jennifer Foster, a tourist from Florence, Ariz., captured the moment with a cellphone photo. She emailed it to the NYPD, which then posted the shot on its Facebook page.
As a result of his generosity, the 25-year-old Long Island native, who joined the force two years ago has become a hero and an internet sensation.
PEOPLE also reports that as of Wednesday night, the post had been viewed 1.6 million times, and by the following morning had drawn nearly 350,000 “likes” and 85,000 “shares” – and was a topic of discussion on morning television.
“He was the most polite gentleman I had met,” DePrimo told The New York Times.
DePrimo now keeps the Skechers receipt in his vest, to remind him “that sometimes people have it worse.”
The officer, who said his own feet were freezing that night despite wearing two pairs of socks, also offered the man in need a cup of coffee, but as soon as the boots were on his feet, he went on his way. They never even exchanged names.
This is is what it truly means to serve and protect. Hopefully more police officers will be inspired by this act of kindness.