On a cold November night, NYPD Officer Lawrence DePrimo saw Jeffery Hillman, a homeless man in New Jersey, was shoeless and DePrimo went to local shoe store and picked up a pair of $100 Skechers for Hillman to protect against the cold.
This random act of kindness blew up on the Internet last week, and Officer DePrimo recieved world wide praise for his kind gesture and was even awarded a pair of department cuff links by Commisioner Raymond W. Kelly, but what about Jeffery ? What happened to him after becoming an Internet sensation overnight?
Recently, Hillman was seen wandering the streets of New York barefoot again. Hillman was interviewed on Sunday, December 2, and he stated that:
“Those shoes are hidden. They are worth a lot of money … I could lose my life.”
When asked about his feelings on the situation he also stated:
“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. I appreciate what the officer did, don’t get me wrong … I wish there were more people like him in the world.”
Hillman also stated that he wanted to thank everyone that was involved with this ordeal from the bottom of his heart, especially Officer DePrimo.
Hillman also discussed how he served as a “food service specialist” in the US Army, serving in both the United States and Germany. He showed the interviewer his worn veteran’s identification card that confirmed his service. He was honorably discharged after 5 years of service, and briefly worked in a kitchen in New Jersey before becoming homeless. Hillman moved to New York about ten years ago.
Jeffery has 2 children that he has little contact with – Nikita, 22, and Jeffery, 24.
When asked about how he became homeless, Hillman just stared off in the distance, shook his head and said, “I don’t know.”
A few stories have come forward of people seeing him recently without the tennis shoes, and even one woman stated that a year ago she gave Hillman a pair of shoes as well.
This story warms my heart but at the same time makes me question how I can help the homeless in my community and how I could make a difference.
SO QUESTION NATION:
What are your feelings on this story and how does it affect you?