Boots For the Homeless

Boots For the Homeless

Alexis Griffin, Columnist, 2011-2013

A homeless man on the streets of New York City had to learn to walk only on his heels because he had no shoes or socks and had severely frostbitten, blistered feet. When a New York Police Department Officer, Lawrence DePrimo, saw the man, he automatically went over and asked the man what his shoe size was and proceeded to buy the man some shoes and socks. They were an unremarkable pair of all weather Sketcher boots, but the act of kindness was the important part. “Not only did this officer do an incredible thing, but he did it toward a group in this country, hungry and homeless, who deserve a hand,” said Jennifer Foster, who is also a supervisor with the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office. Foster was a tourist who took the picture

“You could see the blisters were about the size of my hands and my heart just went out to him,” said Officer DePrimo, in an interview with CNN.  Later that week, Foster got a call from Officer DePrimo and he told her about his parents reactions.  She also reports that she didn’t realize everybody would make such a big deal about something so small; he helped one man but really he helped many others realize that there are people out there who have it worse than us.

Officer DePrimo told the New York Times that he plans to keep the boots receipt with him at all times as a reminder that sometimes people are worse off. “I keep it in my vest pocket over my heart wishing I could do more for the homeless people out there. I keep it close to the heart.”

Many people believe that the random act of kindness wasn’t so random. They believe that Foster, the woman who took the picture, staged it to get attention and publicity, wanting to be publicly acknowledged for this act of kindness. Many believe that these are just rumors and that what happened was truly an act of random charity.

Although this occurred on November 29, 2012, police discovered the man on December 3, 2012 with no boots and was questioned about them. He refused to answer, but was later followed throughout the day. What was revealed was that the “homeless” man actually owned an apartment in the Bronx. He was getting several different supports from  the government since he is a war veteran, and was also a government employee for a period in the past. Also, he has been told that he is no longer able to take money, food, and other necessities from others since he already has his own apartment.