Jennifer Foster of Florence, AZ was visiting Times Square with her husband Nov. 14 when they saw a shoeless man asking for change. She writes, “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. I did not get the officer’s name. 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.”Our thanks to the Fosters for their attention and appreciation, and especially to this officer, who remains anonymous.
On Thursday, the police officer’s identity was revealed: He’s Larry DePrimo, 25.
The two-year veteran of the department explained he was on patrol in Times Square on the frigid night of November 14 when he came across a man in bare feet with “blisters … about the size of my hands.”
“My heart went out to this man,” DePrimo told CNN. “I just went toward him and asked him if he wanted a pair of socks. But he said, ‘No, and God bless you for asking.’ ”
The officer said he had one word to describe the man’s gracious words: “inspiring.”
Inspired himself, DePrimo headed to a nearby Skechers’ store and – after asking the man his shoe size – bought winter boots. The store’s staff figured out was going on and gave DePrimo an employee discount to help “make the best out of the situation,” said assistant manager Jose Cano.
When DePrimo gave away the boots, the man thanked him with a “smile (that) went from ear to ear.”
“And again, he said God bless me. And he said be safe.”