Skip to main content

The Globe and Mail

The only feel-good story you need to read today

In this undated photo released by the New York City Police Department, Thursday, Nov. 29, 2012, officer Larry DePrimo is shown on-duty.

AP Photo/New York Police Department

A warning to all those with icy cold hearts: This story is not for you.

New York City police officer Larry DePrimo warmed a pair of bare feet after buying boots for a homeless man on November 14. But in so doing, DePrimo has also warmed hearts.

Since first being reported in both the The New York Times and Newsday, the moment has been shared and circulated across the Internet. And the widespread reaction of (positive) shock and awe suggests a collective acknowledgment that people always love a feel-good story.

Story continues below advertisement

DePrimo spotted the man and his exposed, blistered feet on 42nd Street in Manhattan, sitting in front of a Skechers shoe store. After asking for the man's shoe size, he went inside the store and came out with a pair of socks and all-weather boots.

The boots cost $100 (U.S.) but the store manager offered DePrimo his employee discount, reducing the price to just over $75.

What the officer didn't realize was that Jennifer Foster, a tourist from Arizona caught the exchange on camera and sent the photo to the New York Police Department's official Facebook page. Needless to say, the Facebook "likes" have been steadily soaring ever since.

Apparently, Foster '"never expected the picture to end up online"' and told the New York Times that she is not even on Facebook.

The officer could not remember the man's name and he was unable to be located. At the time, he told DePrimo that he had never owned a pair of shoes.

DePrimo told the New York Times that he "has kept the receipt in his vest since then, 'to remind me that sometimes people have it worse.'"

And the officer, meanwhile, has been praised as a local hero. On Thursday, New York's Police Commissioner honoured DePrimo with a special set of cufflinks.

Story continues below advertisement

"I'm here to say all cops really aren't bad and this is something we're just here to do everyday," he said in a press conference.

As the season of giving shifts into full gear, this might prove the type of good samaritan (or good cop) story that could trickle down to gift drives and charities. What's more, it re-sensitizes us to the people we too often ignore.

As Alicia Menendez of HuffPost Live pointed out: "It was something about the degree of care he gave him – that it wasn't just a gesture, it was truly thoughtful and long-term."

All-weather boots: $75. Kindness of strangers: priceless.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct Licensing Options
As of December 20, 2017, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles as we switch to a new provider. We are behind schedule, but we are still working hard to bring you a new commenting system as soon as possible. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.