Random Acts of Kindness Take a Beating

Larry DePrimo with Homeless Man

By Dawn Cranfield

Random of Kindness Take a Beating

Just a few days ago, I posted a tongue in cheek story about a homeless man in New York City’s Time Square who won the lottery; he was the recipient of a random act of kindness by a New York City officer’s gift of a pair of boots.  The officer, Larry DePrimo, spent his own money on a pair of boots and thermal socks for the man when he noticed the homeless gentleman on the sidewalk with blisters from the harsh weather.

“It was extremely cold that night,” DePrimo told Fox News on Friday. “I just knew I had to help him.” (foxnews.com)

An Arizona tourist who was in the area snapped a picture of the heart-warming gesture, reminiscent of a Norman Rockwell painting.

However, in an unusual twist of circumstances, the homeless man, now identified as Jeffrey Hillman, has opted to hide the boots and remain shoeless.  He claims “he’s grateful for the gift, but he wants ‘a piece of the pie’ because the photo was posted online ‘without permission.’” (usatoday.com)

Imagine the officer’s disappointment over the news when he expected nothing for his generous bestowment on the man.  Now, the beautiful story of kindness at a time when the world could use more heroes like DePrimo, the tale is tarnished by the ramblings of an ungrateful recipient.

Still, Larry DePrimo should feel proud for what he did and I hope he would not think twice about helping somebody in need.  If he ever has a chance to see this, I would like to offer him this letter:

Dear Larry,

You are an example of a fine American citizen, and a wonderful humanitarian; your altruistic behavior clearly did not go unnoticed by a nation in need of heroic pictures of our men in blue.

Please do not be discouraged by Mr. Hillman’s apparent misunderstanding of your compensation for this photo; one cannot imagine he has a lot of experience in the latest technological advancements.  I do not mean this to be rude, I am simply being realistic.

In the future, if you are faced with a situation in which you are able to offer assistance to somebody less fortunate that you are, I would hope you would still react in a similar fashion. 

In a world filled with viral videos of officers involved in altercations with suspects, I would prefer to remember this touching photograph of you, helping a fellow citizen. 

It is my belief most who have seen the story will remember your special holiday gift, not only the one of shoes and socks, but the notion that the spirit of human kindness lives on; and they will forget the secondary story about the sad man who wants more.

Thank you for giving,


As for the homeless man who wants his “piece of the pie”, I have blacked out his face so he will not have to worry about anybody recognizing him.  Many thanks to Jennifer Foster who snapped the photo.



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