NYPD Officer Larry DePrimo presents a barefoot homeless man in New York's Time Square with boots on Nov. 14.
Photo credit: AP Photo/Jennifer Foster
NYPD Officer Larry DePrimo
Photo credit: AP Photo/New York Police Department
You have to like what NYPD Officer Larry DePrimo did for a barefoot man in Manhattan one frigid night this month. In fact, more than 260,000 Facebook users have "liked" DePrimo's actions, a number that's growing every day.
After a tourist from Arizona snapped a photo of DePrimo, of Holbrook, giving the man socks and boots to ward off the cold, the image became an instant hit on the NYPD's Facebook page.
As of late Wednesday, the photo had been shared 47,716 times, boosting subscribers to the department's 5-month-old page by 7,000, to 95,000, officials said.
"I had two pairs of wool winter socks and combat boots, and I was cold," DePrimo, 25, said Wednesday, recalling the night of Nov. 14, when he encountered an unidentified, shoeless man on the sidewalk on Seventh Avenue near 44th Street.
DePrimo offered to get him socks and shoes.
"I never had a pair of shoes," the man replied, according to DePrimo, who's assigned to the Sixth Precinct and has been on the force nearly three years.
The officer walked to a Skechers store on 42nd Street and shelled out $75 for insulated winter boots and thermal socks. He returned to the man, knelt down and put the footwear on him.
"He smiled from ear to ear," DePrimo said. "It was like you gave him a million dollars."
The officer asked the man if he wanted a cup of coffee, but he graciously declined and went on his way.
"I didn't think anything of it," DePrimo said of his generosity.
But during dinner that night, he got a text message from a friend. The photo had gone viral.
"I was absolutely shocked," he said.
Copyright 2012 - Newsday
McClatchy-Tribune News Service