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    Unlocking the Door: Keeping our noses to ourselves


    Kendra TaylorRoughly two and a half weeks ago a story about a New York police officer, Lawrence DePrimo, buying a homeless man, Jeffrey Hillman, a pair of shoes blew up the internet and papers. It’s popularity was due to the intrigue of the random act of kindness captured on camera.

    Around this time of year we are told it is better to give than to receive. There are different kinds of happiness that come from each of these experiences. In this instance, DePrimo gets the satisfaction of knowing that he did something kind to help someone in need and Hillman has the gratitude of receiving a gift he was obviously in much need of.

    However, once it was discovered that Hillman sold the shoes that he was given, there were many more stories written about his choice and many negative comments posted about what Hillman did.

    It is puzzling why someone would sell something that they seemingly needed very badly and there has been much speculation on whether what he did was acceptable or not, but that is not the important part of the story.

    The most troubling part of this situation is that since Hillman has gone viral and become very popular this story has turned into one huge debate.

    One of my favorite Bible quotes is Ephesians 4:29; “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”  I love it because it is so true. Is any of the talk about what Hillman did with the shoes helpful to him or anyone else? No, not really.

    What the officer did was helpful, amazingly touching and charitable. What Hillman did is simply none of our business. Who are we to say that he should not have sold the shoes? That was his choice, just like it was DePrimo’s choice to buy him the shoes. A gift is a gift, and how the receiver chooses to use that gift is their choice. The giver has to be content with the fact that they did something kind, whether the receiver was grateful or not.

    It is not any of our business to be discussing what Hillman should or should not have done with the gift that he received. We can appreciate the random act of kindness by DePrimo and respect him for his generosity, but we need to avoid analyzing what Hillman did. We can also probably learn a lot from DePrimo’s selfless act of giving.

    So, use this holiday season to care for others, whether it be dropping some change into one of the Salvation Army’s red buckets, smiling at someone you walk by, or going caroling around your neighborhood. Take some time to help someone out, but try and steer clear of judging someone for their actions, especially if you do not know the full story. We can have a great time and make everyone’s lives better by keeping our noses to ourselves.

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