WDEL Blog: Allan Loudell

Story of homeless, shoeless man given boots by NYC cop may underscore disconnected families

Despite the communications technology explosion, where family and friends have innumerable ways to keep in touch, some families - sadly - are disconnected and out-of-touch.

That comes to mind as I read this story about the homeless man given a pair of boots by a NYC police officer. Amazingly, some family members apparently followed the story, and STILL didn't realize it was him...


Meanwhile, the homeless man is shoeless once again. What do you think?


Posted at 7:50am on December 3, 2012 by Allan Loudell

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Comments on this post:

Mike from Delaware
Mon, Dec 3, 2012 8:18am
Mr Hillman is an adult and apparently hasn't been interested in living with any of his family until he can get his life straightened out. I'm sure his family is embarrassed at all this worldwide attention the story has gotten as it makes them look uncaring, etc. But you can lead a horse to water; you can't make him drink. So before we judge his family, we really don't know all the details. If Mr. Hillman chooses to live as a homeless person and rejects family offers of help, that is his choice.

I know of a family locally who has a relative just like this and they are very frustrated, but he's an adult and can choose how he wants to live.

The NY policeman preaches a silent sermon to all of us in how a small act of kindness can offer hope and be a real blessing to someone, not just at Christmas time, but can be done anytime all year long.

Mon, Dec 3, 2012 12:55pm

This story took place in Times Square, along 42nd Street, not at "the airport."

This story is a scathing indictment on who we are as people. For a nation with such vast resources, it's outrageous there are those among us who "dont have money" to buy shoes.

Tue, Dec 4, 2012 8:12pm
I just found out this evening that the homeless person in this case turned out to be a scam artist who receives a disability check and lives in an apartment. Sure is a scathing indictment on who criminals are as people, huh Teatime?

Tue, Dec 4, 2012 8:22pm
Teatime: This may be a scathing indictment on who YOU are as a person, but don't lump me in there with you!


Mike from Delaware
Wed, Dec 5, 2012 6:33pm
Once again, I have to agree with both of you, Teatime and Mrpizza: There are many real homeless folks out there who do need help and it is sad that prior to the 1980's, we never saw homeless folks in America, other than the "hobo type" which was pretty rare. Today, millions of folks are homeless. THAT is an indictment on our society, so Teatime is correct.

On the other hand Mrpizza also is correct in that there are many phoney's out there who make a living by panhandling, tax-free. "60 Minutes" did a show on this, say, about 15-20 years ago. I remember folks being interviewed who admitted to panhandling for a living, not being homeless, etc., in NYC and making over $40K/yr TAX-FREE, back in the 1990's. So that does make it difficult to know who to help and who to avoid.

In certain parts of the county (the working-class areas mostly - not Hockessin or Greenville) you find many folks on traffic islands at traffic-lights panhandling, collecting for some unknown charity, etc., all the time - that's why no law against it ever gets passed, because the swells aren't affected. They'll walk out into traffic, between the cars and frankly are an accident waiting to happen. Sometimes they don't get back up on the traffic island, but stay out in the traffic (upcoming cars don't see them), an accident waiting to happen and shouldn't be allowed.

These panhandlers also station themselves at Wawa's (and gas stations, small shopping centers, etc., and will come up to you while you're pumping gas or walking to or from the store-doors asking for a quarter for the bus, or can you spare some change?... etc., etc.

I remember one time a guy said he needed formula for his baby. So I replied and said, OK, tell me what kind of formula you need and I'll run over the drugstore just down the street and get you some. His reply was, that's OK, just give me the money and I can get it. I replied, it's not a problem to go and get it for you, just wait here and I'll get you whatever formula you need. He tried again to convince me to give him the money at which point I rolled up my window as I said, I don't think so and drove off.

Most pastors I know will tell you never to give money. So I've sometimes stopped and bought a McDonald's meal with a hot cup of coffee and given that to the person, I've never had anyone refuse the meal, and yet I didn't give out cash.

Many churches have arrangements with local stores for food, clothes, and motels, so they have a place to spend the night. So better they go to the local church in the area and get real help.

Also realize, you could also make yourself a victim and get robbed. You have to get within arm's length to give them anything, and they could pull a gun or knife and ask for a larger donation. It is that type of world out there. So use discernment, allow the Lord to guide you.

Wed, Dec 5, 2012 8:10pm
The way I deal with it is to volunteer at Sunday Breakfast Mission and to give them the money. As an organization, they're in a lot better position to get it to the people who genuinely need it.

Mike from Delaware
Wed, Dec 5, 2012 10:38pm
My wife volunteers at LCS (Lutheran Community Services) they also serve the Wilmington and New Castle area.

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