Arizona woman's photo of NYPD helping homeless man goes viral

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By Andrew Michalscheck By Andrew Michalscheck

GILBERT, Ariz. -- A photo of a New York City police officer is taking the Internet by storm. 

Hundreds of thousands of people from around the world are viewing the image of the NYPD officer stooping to offer a pair of boots to a barefoot homeless man in Times Square.

The moment of kindness was caught on camera by an Arizona woman who happened to be visiting New York at the perfect moment.

The photo, now posted to the NYPD Facebook page, has more than 430,000 "likes."

Jennifer Foster said she never expected all the attention when she snapped the picture.  Since the image has gone viral, the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office supervisor has been inundated with calls from network news organizations asking for interviews.

“I'm incredibly overwhelmed by the attention,” said Jennifer Foster, from Gilbert.

She told 3TV she just wanted to capture something inspirational to show her coworkers.

“Not only did this officer do an incredible thing, but he did it toward a group in this country, hungry and homeless, who deserve a hand,” said Jennifer, who is also a supervisor with the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office.

Jennifer was in Times Square with her boyfriend when she saw the homeless man with no shoes for the second night in a row.  She was actually headed over to give the man some change when she saw the officer approach. 

“And he said, ‘I have these size 12 all-weather boots for you. Let’s take care of you.’  And this gentleman’s face lit up and he was all excited about it,” Jennifer said.

She was moved to see the man with a badge bow to help the man with no shoes and decided to share the picture on the NYC government website, hoping someone would recognize the officer and give him credit for his kind act.

“It's called protect and serve and mostly what we're known for is the protection aspect of it,” said Jennifer. “But the service and the kindness I see the Pinal County deputies give every day is equal to this. So when I saw [the officer] I thought, as a supervisor, I would want to know that my employee had done this.”

She had no idea at the time, but the officer’s name was Lawrence “Larry” DePrimo. She also didn’t know Officer DePrimo had paid for the $99 pair of boots (the Skechers store gave him a discount) with his own money. 

“You could see the blisters were about the size of my hands and my heart just went out to him,” said Officer DePrimo, in an interview with CNN.  

Soon after Jennifer contacted officials in New York, she got a call from Officer DePrimo.

“He said that his mom cried and his dad said he was proud of him and that means the world to me,” she said.

Officer DePrimo told the New York Times that he plans to keep the boots receipt with him at all times as a reminder that sometimes people are worse off.