Article brought to you by: Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

An officer - AND a gentleman: NYPD officer's generosity goes viral

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
November 30th, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

They say integrity is what you do when people aren't looking. A NYPD Officer's boundless generosity to a homeless man in Times Square, caught on a cell phone camera has inspired many and has gone viral, leading many to declare 25-year-old NYPD Officer Larry DePrimo an officer - and a gentleman.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - DePrimo was on counter-terrorism patrol in Times Square on the night of November 14, when he encountered a barefooted homeless man huddled to a storefront..

"I went up to him and I said, 'Buddy where's your socks, where's your shoes?'" DePrimo said. "He said, 'It's okay officer, I never had a pair of shoes,' and that to me - it took me back a few."

The officer watched the man stand up and walk down the cold pavement of the sidewalk on the balls of his feet. The officer then went into a nearby Sketcher's Shoes store and found a $100 pair of winter boots that he believed would keep the man warm through the winter.

The assistant manager at the shoe store in Times Square, gave the officer a 25 percent discount on the $100 shoes because he was "inspired. I've worked in the city for about 10 years and no one's really sort of taken that sort of initiative."

Speaking about the incident on Friday's Today show, DePrimo said he had acted impulsively because he wanted to help the homeless man and didn't consider the financial cost to himself.

"I really didn't think about the money," he said. "I said, I don't care what the price is. We just got to help him out."

Talking about the media attention the incident received on social media sites, DePrimo said the experience had been "surreal and extremely humbling.

"It's a great experience," he said. "I think it's a lot about the people, though, because you see such great comments. People are saying that their faith in humanity is restored and that's the biggest thing that I can take away from all of this."

Jennifer Foster, the 911 dispatcher from Pinal County, Arizona captured the heartwarming photo on her phone and then emailed it to the NYPD.

"I knew what I was looking at," she told Today. "I knew it was remarkable."

Since hitting the Internet, the photo has received more than 466,000 Likes on Facebook and more than 140,000 people have shared it.

DePrimo has cited the influence of his grandfather in motivating him to step forward to engage with the man in need.

"The true inspiration was my grandfather, and he told me when I was much younger, 'If you are going to do something, do it 100 percent. And do it, or don't do it at all,'" DePrimo said. "And I think that stuck with me my entire life."

Article brought to you by: Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)