In just a matter of days, an image captured on a cell phone has taken on iconic status thanks in large part to social media.
The image is that of a New York City police officer giving socks and boots to a homeless man in Times Square on Nov. 14. Jennifer Foster, an Arizona woman visiting New York, took the picture; she said the officer didn’t know he was being photographed.
Weeks later, Foster, a police dispatcher in her hometown, shared it with the NYPD, along with a note, which the department posted to its Facebook page
on Tuesday night. It went viral after Reddit users started sharing and commenting on it.
According to Foster’s note:
“The officer said, ‘I have these size 12 boots for you, they are all-weather. Let’s put them on and take care of you.’ The officer squatted down on the ground and proceeded to put socks and the new boots on this man. The officer expected NOTHING in return and did not know I was watching*. I have been in law enforcement for 17 years. I was never so impressed in my life.”
As of Friday morning, the post had more than 500,000 “likes,” nearly 187,000 shares, and tens of thousands of comments.
Foster told The New York Times
that she does not use Facebook.
From USA Today
“She waited until she returned to Arizona, back to her job leading the communications and dispatch department of the Pinal County Sheriff's Office. Then, according to the Times, she sent the department an email, a bit the way one would send a complimentary-comment card.
“Someone at the NYPD asked her if she could send the photo and if the department could use it on its own Facebook site. Foster agreed.”
The officer in the picture is 25-year-old Lawrence DePrimo, who told the Times
that he keeps the receipt for the boots and socks in his vest “to remind me that sometimes people have it worse.”