Let me begin by stating this: I have nothing but respect for police, firefighters and those who serve in the armed forces. They – the men and women – perform a duty I could never see myself ever doing.
As I mentioned in a previous post, my trip to New York City back in July was not complete until I found a member of the NYPD or the NYFD to take a picture with me. I wanted them to know how much I appreciated their sacrifices and dedication following the 9/11 tragedy.
However, it’s safe to say that those are my opinions and not everyone shares them. There are people who definitely hate police and those in the armed forces. And although I couldn’t imagine why I am guessing there are those who despise firefighters.
And there are those people who are just plain cynical about anyone considered part of government, law enforcement and the like.
And then comes this story from the Associated Press. It’s been all over the news for the past few days:
NEW YORK (AP) — An Arizona tourist who snapped a wildly popular photo of a New York City policeman helping a homeless man says she feels a kinship for the officer.
Jennifer Foster appeared with Officer Larry DePrimo on the “Today” show Friday.
Says Foster: “We decided we’re best friends.”
DePrimo said he found the whole experience “surreal and extremely humbling.” He said he just knew he had to help the man.
Foster, a resident of Florence, Ariz., took a photo of DePrimo giving new boots to the barefoot homeless man in Times Square on a cold night. It went viral after it was posted on the NYPD’s Facebook page on Tuesday.
As of this moment, there are more than a half-million likes to the photo of the officer and the homeless man. And there are more than 40,000 comments. But what I found after reading some of the comments is that not everyone is buying this random act of kindness. Some even called it a publicity stunt. If it was then DePrimo should get an Oscar because I found him to be sincere and honest.
You have to wonder why people are skeptical about acts of kindness. Why is it so impossible to believe that a 25-year-old member of the NYPD could go and buy a homeless guy boots and socks for the man? Have we sunk so low that we find it that hard to find the goodness in people?
Well, I haven’t. Just a look on my desk these days as checks are coming in for the Share the Warmth campaign reassure me that generally people are good. There are bad apples but for the most part, the human race isn’t so terrible.
So back to the police and peoples’ doubts…
Perhaps it’s the cases of bad cops doing bad things that raises doubt. Just take a look at Coatesville – and even that department isn’t all bad.
But as we speak there is a termination hearing going on for a member of the force accused of having an affair with a subordinate officer. In this case there are offensive cell phone images involved and all sorts of nasty stuff.
But Coatesville isn’t alone. There are bad cops everywhere – but it doesn’t mean an entire department is bad whether it’s Coatesville or any other department. But if you looked around you would find bad accountants, bad politicians, bad scientists and probably even bad members of the press. (This is your opportunity for the cheap shot.) While I do have a lot of faith in human nature I’m not that silly to think everyone is sweet and full of goodness.
However I would hope that our New York cop gets the benefit of the doubt here. If we find out something different I will be the first to admit I was fooled. In the TV interviews I have seen he seems legit so that’s what I am going with.
And to all the men and women who are in public service a big thank you at this time of the year. Like Officer Larry DePrimo of NYPD, you perform a necessary service for which we can never thank you enough for.
To those not so honorable, cut the crap or find another job because you’re soiling the honor of those who serve the rest of us so well.
— Andy Hachadorian