Along with the photo above, here's what was posted on NYPD's Facebook page a few days ago:
Jennifer Foster of Florence, AZ was visiting Times Square with her husband Nov. 14 when they saw a shoeless man asking for change. She writes, “Right when I was about to approach, one of your officers came up behind him. 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. I did not get the officer’s name. It is important, I think, for all of us to remember the real reason we are in this line of work. The reminder this officer gave to our profession in his presentation of human kindness has not been lost on myself or any of the Arizona law enforcement officials with whom this story has been shared.”
All good stuff. The officer seems like a nice, caring guy. Real tear-to-the-eye type shit. The NYPD's Facebook page is filled with THOUSANDS of comments about how incredible this officer's gesture was (because it is). It has over 250,000 Likes. There's just one catch: That homeless guy is conning the shit out of people left and right. He may in fact be homeless, but I have it on good authority that he is far from shoeless.
A few months ago, a friend of mine, who works near Times Square, and I are eating lunch. We're shooting the shit, and he somehow starts telling me about a homeless guy who is running some kind of wild shoe scam near his office. The guy sits around, as homeless people tend to do, only he's shoeless. All day long, unassuming good Samaritans and tourists buy him socks and fresh kicks. Then, after the do-gooder walks away—feeling like Johnny Philanthropist—the homeless dude takes the socks and shoes back off, stuffs them in his bag that's BRIMMING with other shoes, and begs for more. He then go on to tell me that this goes on EVERY DAY.
Well, this morning my buddy saw the post on the NYPD's page and emailed me saying with the utmost certainty this is the same homeless man -- every New Yorker has that one homeless dude in our life that we could pick out of a line-up with no hesitation and this is his. Here is a photo my buddy took of him this summer (my friend is fucking obsessed, don't ask me why). While difficult to tell, the similarities with his pants, lack of shoes and locale are there.
My question is: if he's not wearing them, where the fuck are all those shoes?