Somewhere out there — probably within a few blocks’ walk of where you are — there’s a down-and-out person who needs a helping hand.
Jeffrey Hillman might be the reason he/she doesn’t get one.
Hillman is the apparently homeless man without shoes who was the beneficiary of the kindness of New York police officer Larry DePrimo, who spent his own money buying the guy some news boots and socks.
Over the weekend, the New York Times found Hillman has already jettisoned the boots because they’re valuable. And today it was determined that Hillman isn’t homeless, either. He lives in a rent-free apartment from the federal benefits he gets for being a vet.
New York Homeless Services Commissioner Seth Diamond, however, knows what a lot of folks might be thinking. “They might have housing,” Diamond tells CBS News, “but that’s not the end of story.” Diamond said he hopes the fact that Hillman isn’t the helpless homeless person the original story suggested he was doesn’t discourage people from helping those who really are.
Is it disappointing that part of the story has unraveled? Sure. But it was first and foremost the story of a cop who cared.
It’s also a troubling tale of a guy who had his life together, and then didn’t.