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Man Given Boots By NYC Cop Is Barefoot Again

From the New York Times:

Homeless Man Is Grateful for Officer’s Gift of Boots. But He Again Is Barefoot.

By MARC SANTORA and ALEX VADUKUL | December 2, 2012

After Officer Lawrence DePrimo knelt beside a barefoot man on a bitterly cold November night in Times Square, giving him a pair of boots, a photo of his random act of good will quickly took on a life of its own — becoming a symbol for a million acts of kindness that go unnoticed every day and a reminder that even in this tough, often anonymous city, people can still look out for one another.

Officer DePrimo was celebrated on front pages and morning talk shows, the Police Department came away with a burnished image and millions got a smile from a nice story.

But what of the shoeless man? For days, his bare feet — blistered and battered — were well known. Yet precise details about him proved elusive.

His name is Jeffrey Hillman, and on Sunday night, he was once again wandering the streets — this time on the Upper West Side — with no shoes.

The $100 pair of boots that Officer DePrimo had bought for him at a Sketchers store on Nov. 14 were nowhere to be seen.

“Those shoes are hidden. They are worth a lot of money,” Mr. Hillman said in an interview on Broadway in the 70s. “I could lose my life.”

Or maybe he has already sold them.

Mr. Hillman, 54, was by turns aggrieved, grateful and taken aback by all the attention that had come his way — even as he struggled to figure out what to do about it.

“I was put on YouTube, I was put on everything without permission. What do I get?” he said. “This went around the world, and I want a piece of the pie.” …

Now that is gratitude.

Mr. Hillman said he came to New York about a decade ago and had been on the streets most of that time. He moves about Manhattan, he said, not frequenting any particular neighborhood. On Sunday, he was making his way from the Upper West Side to Times Square.

He has two children — Nikita, 22, and Jeffrey, 24 — but has had little contact with them since a visit three years ago, Mr. Hillman said

They certainly couldn’t be expected to provide their father with shoes.

Since Mr. Hillman’s bare feet became famous, other people reported seeing him without shoes — one even after Officer DePrimo’s gift — and one woman said she had bought him a pair of shoes a year ago. Whatever the case, Mr. Hillman seemed accustomed to walking the pavement shoeless…

Could that be because it is more profitable to panhandle without shoes?

This article was posted by Steve Gilbert on Monday, December 3rd, 2012. Comments are currently closed.

6 Responses to “Man Given Boots By NYC Cop Is Barefoot Again”

  1. GetBackJack

    You can lead a horse to water …

  2. mr_bill

    And in other news, trillions given to poor people; poor people still poor. Government committee to investigate…

  3. electraglide

    There used to be a barefoot “homeless” woman who wore a burlap sack begging in front of Bloomingdales on 3rd Avenue and 59th Street in New York City a few years ago.

    All day long people would come out of the store and give her shopping bags full of high end clothing. Yet day after day she was out on the street in the same old burlap sack.

    Occasionally people would mistake her “shivering” for a seizure and call an ambulance. I knew a few of the EMS crews back then and they said she always told them to get lost… “This is my job” she would say.

    We figured she was stashing the clothes somewhere and returning them for cash at the end of the day. The sack and the shivering were part of the just illusion that was her “job.”

    I guess after a while people caught on to her and she found a new job somewhere else. But a few weeks ago I drove by Bloomingdales and there was a different woman at 59th and Lex wearing a garbage bag.

    • AcornsRNutz

      Same scam gets run at L.L. Beans by oxy junkies and losers. It’s an old one. Some people just left the receipt in the bag, that gets returned for cash. The restis either sold, traded or more commonly (since it’s easy) just tossed in the trash.

      I want a picture of this bum on a shirt with the caption; “This is why welfare doesn’t work”

  4. Repost, but….

    There were 3 people and a scraggly dog begging to travel out of town at a busy stoplight. Dirty army jacket, boots, unshaven, the whole spiel. I saw them again and again, same spot, “traveling out of town, need money.” –of course people gave them money, just to get rid of them.

    Went downtown past a university hipster cafe /bar /music spot, and who was there? Yep, those 3 doofuses living it up, drinking, smoking, taking turns at the microphone. Decided never to give a dime to a homeless person again.

    A few other tricks.
    1. “I’m a homeless veteran, can you give me a few dollars for a hamburger?” (never went inside to eat a hamburger)
    2. “I need to make an emergency phone call dude, can you lend me 50 cents?” (call “0” or 1-800-COLLECT)
    3. “Hey, can I get 50 cents for the bus so I can get home?” (Why in the heck would you be down here, if you had no money to return?)
    4. Another guy would spit on you if you didn’t put coins in his jingling cup. (always walked on the other side of the street if I saw a bus stop, or a cup jingling guy…..or both)
    5. Never-ending homeless person at exit / intersection of a Wal*Mart. Holding cardboard sign up, needing money for this or that.

    They are all deranged in some way, that is why they are homeless. Of all the services the U.S. government provides, there aren’t a whole lot of reasons to STILL be homeless, yet these people are so incompetent, they find a way.
    –And people are stupid enough to think that throwing money at these shysters, is actually going to make them go away. Why walk away from the money train?

    This is how the dictators in Africa operate: Hold up some starving kids, and watch the money pour in. Why save the starving when they are so important to the economy?

  5. Astravogel

    Another one, Mith. I saw a young man at the Interstate junction
    wearing ragged Army clothing last year with a sign reading:
    “Homeless Vietnam Veteran. Need food.” He was there for
    a week or so. OK, when did that war end?


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