A photo of a police officer kneeling to give boots to a homeless man in Times Square has gone viral since it was posted in the NYPD's Facebook wall on Wednesday night. It's now been "liked" 400,218 times - more that any other NYPD post, according to a spokeswoman.
The photo was taken by Jennifer Foster, visiting NYC from Arizona when she came across a barefoot man asking for change. Here's the story she sent to the NYPD:
Right when I was about to approach, one of your officers came up behind him. The officer said, 'I have these size 12 boots for you, they are all-weather. Let's put them on and take care of you.' The officer squatted down on the ground and proceeded to put socks and the new boots on this man. The officer expected NOTHING in return and did not know I was watching. I have been in law enforcement for 17 years. I was never so impressed in my life...It is important, I think, for all of us to remember the real reason we are in this line of work. The reminder this officer gave to our profession in his presentation of human kindness has not been lost on myself or any of the Arizona law enforcement officials with whom this story has been shared.
Foster herself works in law enforcement, as a civilian communications director for the Pinal County Sheriff's Office in AZ.
The good samaritan turned out to be counterterrorism Officer Lawrence DePrimo. He learned the man's shoe size - 12 - then went into Sketchers and bought $75 outdoor boots, to the shock of store manager Jose Cano: "most of us are New Yorkers and we just kind of pass by that kind of thing," said Cano. DePrimo says that he's kept the receipt for the boots on him ever since, to remind him ''that sometimes people have it worse.''