NYPD Officer Who Gave Boots to Barefoot Man Says Experience of Viral Photo "Surreal"

Friday, Nov 30, 2012  |  Updated 11:32 AM EDT
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Thousands of people are touched by a photo catching the kindness of an officer to a homeless man in Manhattan.

Thousands of people are touched by a photo catching the kindness of an officer to a homeless man in Manhattan.

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The NYPD officer whose generosity was captured on a tourist's camera as he gave a pair of warm boots to a barefoot man sitting on a sidewalk in Times Square says he just knew he had to help the man.

The tourist's photo of officer Larry DePrimo kneeling on the cold sidewalk to give the man boots that he bought at a nearby shoe store quickly became an online sensation, generating more than 325,000 "likes" on the NYPD's Facebook page.

DePrimo said Friday that he found the whole experience "surreal and extremely humbling." He appeared on the "Today" show Friday with Jennifer Foster, the Arizona tourist who captured the image that would be shared around the world.  

Foster, who is a police dispatcher, said on "Today" that she feels a kinship for the officer and that the two have become friends.
 
She said her father, a Phoenix police officer for 32 years, had once done something similar. 

DePrimo, 25, told The New York Times that it was freezing that night and he could see blisters on the man's feet.

 
"I had two pairs of socks and I was still cold," he told the Times.
 
As they began talking, the officer learned the man's shoe size was 12. He  went into a nearby Sketchers shoe store and bought a pair of $100 boots for a little over $75, after the store gave a discount.
 
DePrimo, who never learned the man's name, said he keeps the receipt for the boots in his vest to remind him of some people's circumstances.
 
"I would love to see him again," DePrimo said.

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