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Homeless Man in Viral Photo Says Fancy Boots Could Cost Him His Life

Homeless Man in Viral Photo Says Boots Could Cost Him His Life
Jennifer Foster

By now you’ve seen the heartwarming viral photo of NYPD officer Lawrence DiPrimo offering an expensive pair of boots to a barefoot homeless man named Jeffrey Hillman. Over the weekend, the New York Times tracked Hillman down and found that he was no longer wearing the $100 Skechers.

According to 54-year-old Hillman, he hid the boots in a safe place. “Those shoes are hidden,” he said. “They are worth a lot of money. I could lose my life.”

In fact, Hillman seemed angry that he has yet to profit from the photo’s fame. “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.”

Still, the homeless Army vet said he’s thankful for DiPrimo’s act of kindness. “I appreciate what the officer did, don’t get me wrong,” he said. “I wish there were more people like him in the world.”

Hillman is originally from South Plainfield, NJ, and came to New York City a decade ago. He’s been living on the streets for most of that time. He reportedly has two children in their twenties, but has had little contact with them since a visit three years ago.

What do you think? Does Hillman’s reaction tarnish this inspirational moment? Or is this just a grim reminder of how tough life on the streets can be?

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