Have you seen the photo of a NYPD officer giving shoes to a homeless man that has gone viral this week? If you haven't, you need to take a look. It may be the best thing you see this entire holiday season.
What 25-year-old Officer Lawrence DePrimo did is incredible. But there's something extra to this story that has really ensured the photo at right will keep on moving around the web.
Simply put? Officer DePrimo didn't do this for the glory. He didn't duck into a Skechers store because he knew he'd be photographed. He didn't know his name would become famous -- even for 15 minutes -- because he couldn't bypass a barefoot man suffering in the cold without doing something to help.
The photo of the officer and the homeless man was snapped by a tourist in Times Square, a woman named Jennifer Foster, who sent it to the NYPD (which now has the snapshot on Facebook), explaining what happened when she saw a homeless man with no shoes begging on a sidewalk:
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.
It's the fact that Officer DePrimo didn't know he was being watched, that he didn't offer up his name, that he just did an act of kindness out of the goodness of his heart that made my own heart swell today.
This time of year seems to bring out the greedy, gimme, gimme side in people like no other. I've pondered making donations in some people's name as holiday gifts this year. But I've worried that it will enrage them, that they won't be able to see past their own noses and embrace the fact that they could easily go out and buy their own gift while a little girl just got her first ever warm winter coat or a homeless man got the best meal he's ever had because I opted for a donation instead of a traditional gift. That's the sort of society we live in: where people expect something at all times.
What makes Officer DePrimo's act special isn't simply that it was kind, although that is wonderful. It's that it was a kindness done with no expectation of reward.
That's the real reason for the season right there.
What do you make of this beautiful photograph? Will you share it to keep this spirit moving?
Image via NYPD Facebook