I won’t fault Officer Larry DePrimo for seemingly doing the right thing and giving a barefoot homeless man a pair of boots on a cold night in Manhattan recently.

How many times have you seen a homeless person wandering around and have said to yourself, “…there but for the grace of God go I!”

But then reason takes hold, and you think that perhaps that “donation” you’re about to make will be for naught.

Officer DePrimo’s heart was in the right place, but the homeless man, reportedly identified at Jeffrey Hillman of Plainfield, NJ, has since been seen wandering the streets shoeless again.

Reportedly because he “wants a piece of the pie”…whatever pie there is to go around.

And also, because he feels the boots are expensive and his life would be in danger were he to wear them in public…supposedly.

Jeffrey Hillman, 54, was spotted panhandling on the upper West Side Sunday without the $100 boots NYPD Officer Lawrence DePrimo bought for him on a frigid November night in Times Square.

“Those shoes are hidden,” Hillman told The New York Times after he was spotted walking around with no shoes on Broadway near W. 79th St. “They are worth a lot of money. I could lose my life.”

A tourist from Arizona snapped a cell phone photo of DePrimo giving the boots to Hillman on Nov. 14, and the picture quickly went viral, making the selfless cop a national celebrity.

“I appreciate what the officer did, don’t get me wrong. I wish there were more people like him in the world,” Hillman said.

“I want to thank everyone that got onto this thing. I want to thank them from the bottom of my heart. It meant a lot to me. And to the officer, first and foremost.”
Hillman told the newspaper he was from South Plainfield, N.J., and joined the Army in 1978, serving as “food service specialist” for five years before he was honorably discharged. He also said he’s the father of two grown children — Nikita, 22, and Jeffrey, 24.

“We love our brother very much,” Hillman’s brother, Kirk, of Nazareth, Pa., told the Daily News Sunday, adding that he was surprised to see his brother in the newspaper. “Our door is always open to him, but this is a lifestyle he’s chosen.”

He says he's grateful for the gift, but he wants "a piece of the pie" because the photo was posted online "without permission."

The likes of Officer DePrimo should never be discouraged from acts of kindness like the one he performed.

But it is sad that his act is tossed to the side by the beneficiary as though it were mere crumbs.