Am I the only one that's cynical about the man without shoes in NYC?

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Posted 12/3/2012 by Free~Bird in NSBR Board
 

Free~Bird
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Posted: 12/3/2012 10:12:56 AM
web page

Last week an officer bought him shoes and it made national headlines.

I did happen to notice 2 things:
1. "I never have had a pair of shoes" - how do you grow up in America and not ever have a pair of shoes? *ever* In NYC. Barefoot. In the winter. I called bullshit on that one but said nothing.

2. He just so happened to be sitting out side of a *shoe store* with no shoes. I chalked it up to him trying to get the patrons to feel bad for him and it worked. Whatever, you do what you gotta do and people choose to give or they don't.


Now I see that the man is without shoes again, saying he'll lose his life if he wears them. I get it's dangerous on the street with a warm pair of shoes, on the other hand, there's a lot of homeless people out there wearing shoes that are alive. Which makes me think that this is a choice to get people to feel sorry for him. The shoes are long gone.

I saw the above story today and let the cynical parts of me get the best of me today.


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AncestralPea

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Posted: 12/3/2012 10:24:09 AM
no, you're not the only one. i too think he sold/pawned them for drugs or whatever his poison is. and i don't belieev he never had shoes. he wasn't always homeless, at some point no matter how bad off he was, in this country, he had shoes.



Kelpea
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Posted: 12/3/2012 10:26:17 AM
Who knows? I am sad thinking that more and more stories are staged, thanks for mass and social media. But hey, it is what it is.

The story that has me thinking "uh, no" is the "pilot story" going around on the internet; the pilot who is informed that he has the remains of a soldier, and his family, on board. It's just written a little too "stagey" for me to believe it really happened. But again, who knows?



PierKiss
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Posted: 12/3/2012 10:26:35 AM
I find his story to be odd. I do not find anything odd with the story about the police man giving him shoes. But I too wonder how it is possible to NEVER have a pair of shoes, even as a child in this country?



Annabella
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Posted: 12/3/2012 10:28:59 AM
Most of the homeless on the street are there because they have mental problems. I don't really know if there's a market to sell the shoes for the full $100 value, he would have to be organized enough to go to a flee market. I once saw a woman begging people for money to eat and someone brought her a sandwich, she put it in her pocket and kept asking others for money. Hence I never give to the homeless. I do not think the story with the officer is stages, at least I hope not, I thought the person who took his photo didn't knoe him?




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Posted: 12/3/2012 10:30:47 AM
It's sad...we've worked with homeless for years. Give them a coat, and when it gets wet (because they're out in the rain granted) they'll dump it and go without. It's a sad, sad mentality.

When we started we thought we could fix all of the problems by helping them get shoes and socks, sleeping bags and warm gloves. But nothing is long term for them. Now we just hand out the cheap little $1 Target gloves because we know they'll disappear. My heart goes out to the man but I also have felt the feelings of the officer. That great feeling that you get for helping someone, leaves a sinking feeling when you realize that it's been turned around into part of their system.

I hope I'm wording this right, I have such a heart for homeless guys. I think my dad is homeless. Haven't heard from him for years. It's just so much deeper than we can grasp.




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Posted: 12/3/2012 10:34:49 AM
Regardless-it's nice to see an officer portrayed postively and if he inspires others to do something nice, then I'm for it. I don't believe it's staged. My DH is a police officer and they do good things for people every single day. Sometimes, his help is rejected, and other times not.


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MerryMom937
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Posted: 12/3/2012 10:35:34 AM
I took it that the man meant "boots" for shoes. Many homeless people have mental health, substance use/abuse issues, or both and life on the streets is hard.

Many times I have seen police officers, firefighters, teachers, and children services personnel buy things for people without another thought. I do not believe this was "staged".

So instead of the cynicism about the "motivation" of the homeless man, I'll just keep the thought of the cop seeing someone on a cold night without footwear and performed a kindness.


lovetodigi
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Posted: 12/3/2012 10:37:51 AM
If he was in the military, he had shoes. There are other homeless people that have shoes, most likely not new shoes, but he should be able to wear shoes. Maybe someone can give him a pair from a thrift store and see if he continues to wear them. Winter in NY has to be brutal, especially without shoes. How would he keep from getting frost bite?




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Posted: 12/3/2012 10:42:45 AM
Parts of the story don't sit right with me either. Not on the cop's part, I don't think his part was staged.

The article I read today had quotes from the man's brother. He said that he lived not too far away and had never heard from his brother. It made it sound like (and granted, it could be the media spin) there have been efforts to reach out and the man doesn't want to be helped.

I know a lot of people say "you thing they want to live on the street" and I think the answer is yes. There are a lot of homeless who refuse to go to shelters. Some for valid reasons, some not.


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Posted: 12/3/2012 11:01:55 AM
I choose to believe. Somewhere there is a homeless guy who is cold and without, for whatever reason. And there's a cop who is compassionate and trying to help. But there not someone there taking a picture.

This picture is for all those quiet unsung moments when one person helps another out of compassion and generosity.






writermom1
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Posted: 12/3/2012 11:08:10 AM

Now I see that the man is without shoes again, saying he'll lose his life if he wears them. I get it's dangerous on the street with a warm pair of shoes


I heard that story this morning and took it as a sign that he has mental challenges I can't understand. Poor thing.

My only cynicism was with the media initially going nuts for the story. Heartwarming? Yes of course. Do I believe for one moment the story would have had legs (no pun intended!) if the Police Officer hadn't had a bit of the Channing Tatum vibe? Not really. I think the Officer was completely sincere but I think the story took off because he was handsome AND charming. A frumpy old guy doing the same - unless he looked an awful lot like Santa - may have gotten less play.





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Posted: 12/3/2012 11:49:26 AM

Regardless-it's nice to see an officer portrayed postively and if he inspires others to do something nice, then I'm for it.


Same here.

I know that some homeless people take things and either ditch them or sell them. I saw it when I lived in San Diego, but it doesn't make the officer's gift any less.


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Posted: 12/3/2012 11:58:24 AM

Regardless-it's nice to see an officer portrayed postively and if he inspires others to do something nice, then I'm for it. I don't believe it's staged. My DH is a police officer and they do good things for people every single day. Sometimes, his help is rejected, and other times not.


completely agree. whether or not one believes the homeless man, it still should not take away from the officers act of kindness.

what's REALLY sad is that we (general we) have stopped caring and helping the homeless altogether BECAUSE of what the homeless are likely to do.

Point is, an act of kindness was extended and we as people should continue to do so.

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AncestralPea

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Posted: 12/3/2012 12:08:21 PM
I worked for many years in a large major metropolitan area. Many of the homeless are also mentally ill. During times of severe cold weather, the City tries to get them to shelters out of the bitter cold. Many refuse the refuge.

I think the police officer performed a wonderful act of kindness and generosity.

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Posted: 12/3/2012 12:19:42 PM
The act of the police officer helping is inspiring and heart warming regardless of the mental status of the homeless guy. Clearly, there's a problem with reality.


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Posted: 12/3/2012 12:32:43 PM
I choose not to be cynical. I believe that the homeless guy has mental issues and really didn't know what he was talking about.


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Posted: 12/3/2012 12:35:47 PM

completely agree. whether or not one believes the homeless man, it still should not take away from the officers act of kindness.


This!




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Posted: 12/3/2012 12:36:40 PM

The act of the police officer helping is inspiring and heart warming regardless of the mental status of the homeless guy. Clearly, there's a problem with reality.

This.

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Posted: 12/3/2012 12:52:36 PM
The man was in the military he has had shoes maybe not for a while but he has at one point. He was married and has kids. Mental illness maybe but when he starts saying things like my picture was put on-line on you-tube where is my money then something is wrong. Someone did something nice and then it sounds like he sold them for drugs or alcohol once again something well intentioned turned sour. This happens all the time with homeless. I have never heard about a homeless person saying I should get money for my picture being put on the internet - that is a first. I guess it shouldn't surprise me though.

I don't think it was staged I think the officer did a good thing - I am sure stuff like this happens all the time just 99.9999% of the time it goes unnoticed.


Patti

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Posted: 12/3/2012 1:07:15 PM
I'm more cynical about the fact that this became viral. He was just being a good person, it shouldn't be so unbelievable that someone is willing to help another that it becomes national news.

Edgy Coolness
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Posted: 12/3/2012 1:43:45 PM
The real kindness the Policeman could have done for the homeless man would have been to arrest him for public intoxication and from there get him into some form of rehab and mental institution. But, of course, that would mean the homeless man, a Veteran, wouldn't be allowed to be "responsible" for his own situation which seems to be the way 99% of people believe these unfortunate souls should be allowed to live.

FWIW, I actually was "Pollyana" enough to believe the homeless man gave the shoes to someone else who needed them more than he thought he did but then I read all the attributed comments and believe his substance abuse drives his inability to live in society as anything other than a sad reminder that the Lumpen Proletariat are always among us, willing to live unproductive lives because of their addictions.









Free~Bird
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Posted: 12/3/2012 2:03:44 PM
I'm not cynical about the officer. He sounds like a wonderful person. Nor do I think the situation was staged in any way. I'm just cynical about the homeless guy's intent.

I "get it", I just probably would have questioned him sitting near a shoe store with no shoes.


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Posted: 12/3/2012 2:27:52 PM
I totally loved the story, but the cynic in me couldn't help but notice that the man's feet looked quite clean for having gone barefoot for an extended period of time.... my kids can run around for a day in the summer without shoes and their feet are black. City streets are not clean.

That said, it was wonderful to show my kids, to point out how one small act could really make a difference in the life of another person. Go out and make the world a better place... an important lesson all year long, but especially at this time of year.


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megmc
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Posted: 12/3/2012 4:29:20 PM
nope.

but I am glad that there are people like this young man who are freely wiling to serve the public with an open heart.

crayolamamaa
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Posted: 12/3/2012 5:59:39 PM
My ds ran away and lived on the street for five weeks when he was 16. He went through several pairs of shoes. He always managed to get another pair. Someone gave him a pair so that he could go into Denny's. (it was a safe and cheap place to spend the night.)

I am thankful to the "mother" (his words) who bought neosporen and bandaids for his infected toe. And for the people who bought him something to eat, gave him blankets, sleeping bags, and clothes. These were constantly being stolen or lost.

He saved money given to him each day to go to Denny's, eat their all you can eat pancakes, and stay away from the "Tweekers" and "Alcoholics" at night.

He was given a lot of pot and bought a lot for himself with money he was given.

After hearing his story, I wouldn't give a homeless person money. If they needed a coat, clothing, food, or first aide supplies and I could give them I would, but I know money could go to drugs or alcohol. I use to carry gift cards for the homeless but won't do that now because I know they can be traded for drugs too.



enjoytotheend
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Posted: 12/4/2012 1:38:47 AM
I believe the cop gave the man the shoes and that was very generous of him. He didn't buy him crappy shoes either. He gave his best. I believe in the scripture in the New Testament"When ye have done it to the least of these my brethern, ye have done it unto me." I believe having that picture and article out there gave other people a feeling of good and desire to do more good and look for opportunities. He could have easily just walked by. I think my dad is homeless too or dead. We still don't know. But I would like to think someone would extend that same kindness to him.

pjaye
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Posted: 12/4/2012 4:14:12 AM

I don't think it was staged I think the officer did a good thing - I am sure stuff like this happens all the time just 99.9999% of the time it goes unnoticed.

I don't doubt it at all.
A guy I work with did pretty much the same thing, every day a homeless man sat begging near the train station where he gets on. In winter he said his feet were blue, so he brought him some socks and slippers.
He also said he never once saw him wear them. Everyday, he was still barefoot.
Doesn't make what he did any less kind or the decent thing to do.
Who knows what the homeless guy did with them...he may have sold them, may have given them away, may have saved them for "good", maybe he just doesn't wear shoes.
As was already mentioned many of these people have significant mental health issues and are unmedicated which means they don't do things in the way we would except, which is often another one of the reasons they are homeless. Many also have drug and / or alcohol issues.

Doesn't make me doubt the underlying story though.

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Posted: 12/4/2012 5:26:02 AM
A friend of mine was leaving a store with her infant. A homeless woman approached her and begged for money for formula for an infant she was carrying. My friend opened up her grocery bag and offered a can of formula. The woman refused and was angry that she didn't get cash instead.

When financially possible, I have donated to food banks and charities in my local area. I have tried to teach my DD that there are those less fortunate and include her in the giving. However, in the same token there are those who do not want to even help themselves.


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Posted: 12/4/2012 7:08:21 AM
I am not going to judge. I am not homeless so I don't know what it is like for him.


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kellybelly77
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Posted: 12/4/2012 1:16:34 PM

I am not going to judge. I am not homeless so I don't know what it is like for him.


And now officials are speaking up and saying that he is not homeless...


msnbc


Kelly

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Posted: 12/4/2012 2:14:30 PM
I'm sitting with the cynics, myself. Which is sad, because the officer did a really kind and generous thing. But it happens a lot, unfortunately. I've had teen kids come up to me and say they've lost their wallet and need money to get home. Yet they don't want me to buy them a bus ticket. Or they're hungry, but don't want me to buy them food. And they ALL seem to have mobile phones. I don't know their situations, but it does make me wonder.


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peapermint
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Posted: 12/4/2012 2:53:27 PM
Here's an interesting take I was just reading.

This is being talked about a bit on the journalism industry websites.

IScrapCrap
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Posted: 12/4/2012 2:57:23 PM
I was cynical about the homeless man, but not the officer. If I'm wrong oh well. If the recent news is true that the homeless man is a veteran I would not be surprised if he has PTSD. I'm not going to judge too harshly.
Whatever.

NativeNewYorker
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Posted: 12/4/2012 3:35:31 PM
I read yesterday that they had interviewed someone in his immediate family and they said that they love him, their doors are always open but he chooses to live that way. Just came across this:

Homeless Man

Also wouldn't wearing thick socks be better than nothing at all?


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Posted: 12/4/2012 4:02:57 PM
I thought *I* was jaded and cynical. Some of these posts really make me feel all Pollyanna. Thanks!!


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writermom1
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Posted: 12/4/2012 4:46:41 PM

I read yesterday that they had interviewed someone in his immediate family and they said that they love him, their doors are always open but he chooses to live that way.


My (limited) understanding is that this is common.

There seems to be some impression on this thread that the homeless are simply lacking in funds to have a home. I think it is a pretty widely accepted fact that many of them suffer mental illness and other issues that are the root cause of their homelessness. Not that they have not a soul in the world who cares for them, but that they are not able to successfully navigate interpersonal relationships and function well within social norms.




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