Gratitude: a burdening emotion?

What a week in politics, human and animal rights it has been. Palestinians and Israelis were calling each other terrorists among other terms of endearment. Wolves were still being hunted in the US; dolphins had been massacred in the Gulf of Mexico and other niceties in the animal kingdom came to the fore. No, this had not been an easy week for this world.

And then there was NYPD officer Larry DePrimo… Humanity. Humility. Goodwill. Empathy. And most of all: simply a good person. He gave a homeless man new socks and shoes when he found him without footwear sitting next to a shoe shop in Times Square (

Police officer Deprimo got to do what I had failed to last month when a homeless man without pants and shoes was sitting in a busy Dublin shopping street: give a man in need shoes to keep his feet warm. I went into town looking for him the following day with old clothes of mine but couldn’t find him and because of personal circumstances, I haven’t been able to go back since. The bag of clothes is still here to be taken into town again in the hope of helping him out.

One of my friends asked if it was truly up to me to help this man, and why I was annoyed about people walking past without giving him a second glance. This is not a hubristic Messiah complex, narcissism or megalomania, but simply wanting to help out. Nothing more, nothing less.

If everyone turns their back towards inequality like this, then we as a human race are doomed. Plus, I’m a softie, I nearly always go for the underdog so yes, in my eyes this man had to have clothes on his back and shoes on his feet and I wanted to give it to him because it seemed the right thing to do. Sadly, I couldn’t help him that day and failed to find him the following day.

You can understand my happiness so when I heard about police officer Lawrence DePrimo and his opportunity to help a person in need. Because of that, my faith in humanity is somewhat restored. Not everyone has turned their backs on the needs of modern society, and the sun shines a bit brighter today knowing this.

I don’t know if I will ever see the homeless man without shoes again when I go into Dublin town, I just pray to god someone on this side of the big pond has found it into their hearts to help him out. If not me, then please someone else.

What became of the New Jersey homeless man called Jeffrey Hillman officer DePrimo helped so kindly? Word on the street is that he was walking around barefoot again last night, claiming that “those shoes are hidden, they are worth a lot, I could lose my life” (

Gratitude… or not?

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© WVE and Ireland, MS and Me, 2011-2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to WVE and Ireland, MS and Me with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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1 Comment

  1. Pingback: The dark underbelly of Ireland’s society | Ireland, Multiple Sclerosis & Me

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