A New York police officer’s spontaneous actÂ of kindness has captured the praise of hundreds of thousands of people acrossÂ the internet.
A tourist from Arizona captured aÂ heartwarming photo of Lawrence Deprimo kneeling down to give a barefoot homelessÂ man a pair of winter boots on a cold night earlier this month.
The NYPD posted the photo on its FacebookÂ page, an effort to show the softer side of the nation’s largest policeÂ force.
Nearly 300,000 people have ‘liked’ the photoÂ online. Another 65,000 people have shared it.
Officer Deprimo said he was patrolling TimesÂ Square in the heart of Manhattan when he came across the man, who was huddledÂ next to a storefront with nothing on his feet, the New York Times reports.
‘It was freezing out and you could see theÂ blisters on the man’s feet,’ the officer told the Times. ‘I had two pairs ofÂ socks and I was still cold.’
Officer Deprimo said he talked to theÂ homeless man and found out his shoe size: 12.
He watched the man stand up and walk slowly,Â painfully, down the cold pavement of the sidewalk on the balls of his feet.
The 25-year-old officer went into a nearbyÂ Sketcher’s store and found a $100 pair of winter boots that he believed wouldÂ keep the man warm through the winter.
The clerk, moved to the story, gave theÂ officer his employee discount – 25 percent off.
Officer Deprimo said he keeps the $75 receiptÂ as a reminder that ‘sometimes people have it worse.’
Deprimo, who lives on Long Island with hisÂ parents, joined the force in 2010.
The photo was taken by Jennifer Foster, a 911Â dispatcher from from Pinal County, Arizona, who was in New York forÂ Thanksgiving.
When she got home, she emailed the photo toÂ the NYPD, which posted it to the department’s Facebook page.
She said she took the picture because theÂ scene reminded her of her own father, a 32-year veteran of the Phoenix policeÂ department. She remembers as a child watching him give food to a homelessÂ man.
‘He squatted down, just like this officer,’Â she told the Times.