Remember the Homeless Man Given Boots by the Cop? The Story Has Turned Ugly...

Author: Steve Woods
Published: December 03, 2012 at 3:05 pm

I remember it as clearly now as twenty years ago, when it happened. I was at a local McDonald’s with my daughter, who was two years old at the time. She was standing beside me, watching other kids her age climbing, jumping and laughing on the Playland structure, brightly colored plastic balls, rope bridges and padded obstacles. I could tell she wanted to go as well, but refused to take my advice and simply get in line with the other kids.

When we finally drove away, my daughter cried because she had not gotten her turn, and I had to explain to her that she had only to ask, and she would’ve been able to participate, too.

That episode two decades ago came to mind as I read a disturbing follow-up to a random act of kindness in the news...

Just last week I wrote a post about NYPD Officer Larry DePrimo, who selflessly stopped while on anti-terrorism patrol one cold night last month, and purchased, out-of-pocket, a $100 pair of Skechers boots for a homeless man who had no shoes. The unnamed homeless guy thanked the officer and put on the boots, as well as some soft socks to go along with them. A tourist took a photo of the act of kindness, and sent it to the NYPD, who put the soon-viral image on their Facebook page.

Officer DePrimo’s photo was “Liked” hundreds of thousands of times since then, and DePrimo has been lauded in a very public way, appearing on news outlets and talk shows to discuss his altruistic behavior. Heart-warming in every socially shareable sense.

If you want to leave the story at that and have a warm, fuzzy feeling about the world around you, stop here and move along smartly. Otherwise, here's how this once-uplifting tale has turned bad, to say the least...

A New York Times reporter recently caught up with the homeless man, who identified himself as Jeffrey Hillman, 54. Hillman was, once again, barefooted, stating that he'd hidden the boots because they were “worth a lot of money — I could lose my life”. Totally understandable, and a sad fact of life on the streets, right?

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Article Author: Steve Woods

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