Protecting and serving with Kindness

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Julia Greenblatt

Julia Greenblatt

Jennifer Foster, an off-duty police officer in Arizona, recently visited New York City. On her trip, she noticed a man not wearing shoes asking for change in Times Square. Following the incident, the police officer sent the following note to the NYPD, which posted it on Facebook:

“Right when I was about to approach the man, 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.”

This amazing letter has gone viral with 77,000 shares, 322,000 likes and 20,000 comments. The admiring comments came from as far away as Australia and Malaysia. Some of the comments include: “Angels are everywhere, we just have to see!!!” … “Way to go cop … God bless.” … “This action gives me a warm feeling, even here in The Netherlands.” … “I wish more people were like this. This is in NY and would be the last place I would see this type of kindness”.

A few days after the letter was posted, the identity of the kind policeman was revealed. His name is Larry DePrimo, a 25-year-old officer who has been working as a police officer. DePrimo said that he was patrolling Time Square on a particularly cold night and saw a bare-footed man with “blisters … about the size of my hands.” My heart went out to this man,” he said. “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.’ ” Inspired by this graciousness, DePrimo bought the man winter boots from a nearby Skechers store. The staff at the shoe-store knew the kind act he was about to perform and gave him a discount to help “make the best out of the situation.” Upon receiving this amazing gift, the barefooted man gave DePrimo a big smile, thanked him, and said “God bless you.”

There are many lessons to be learned from this incredible act. Firstly, Officer Larry DePrimo should be highly commended for his act of kindness. He saw someone in need and went to extra mile to help him. One does not have to wear a badge to help people, and hopefully we can all learn something from Officer Larry DePrimo. Secondly, Jennifer Foster did a great thing by sharing that letter. She put a wonderful, warm spotlight on a great act of kindness, and she made sure that the person who committed the act of kindness got recognition, even though DePrimo was not expecting it. We need to try to give shout-outs whenever we say acts of kindness like this. So thank you Officer Foster for sharing.

Unfortunately, in addition to all of the positive comments on the Facebook post, some people claimed that Officer DePrimo had been duped by a scam artist. The veracity of these claims is irrelevant; it is really sad that after reading about such a kind act that people feel the need to bring negativity to this world. Officer Larry DePrimo did an amazing thing and that is what matters. We salute you Officer DePrimo.

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