Jennifer Foster, a tourist from Florence, Ariz., took a cellphone picture of Officer Larry DePrimo giving the man the all-weather boots and socks on a frigid night in Times Square on Nov. 14.
The image was posted on the NYPD's Facebook page and became an instant hit. More than 362,000 users "liked" his generosity as of Thursday morning.
"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.
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, according to Newsday..
The Skechers story manager told The New York Times: "We were just kind of shocked,” said Jose Cano. “Most of us are New Yorkers and we just kind of pass by that kind of thing. Especially in this neighborhood.” Mr. Cano gave the officer his employee discount to bring price of the boots to $75.
DePrimo tells Newsday the homeless man "smiled from ear to ear. It was like you gave him a million dollars."
He told The New York Times he keeps the receipt for the boots in his vest to remind him "that sometimes people have it worse."