Back in November, a Manhattan police officer gave a $100 pair of boots and socks to a homeless man who had no shoes. The story went viral and in no time, millions of people had heard about this extraordinary act of kindness.

A joyous story indeed, particularly just before Christmas. Gives one a really warm, fuzzy feeling.

Recently, and without much fanfare, the homeless man refused to wear his new boots. Such a valuable item with a vulnerable person made that man a target for great harm. There are those who would kill to have those boots and the homeless man knew it.

Though he admits to being grateful, he also said there should be a lot more of the kindness shown by the New York City police officer. I have no doubt. If there were as many acts of kindness as this world needs, the story of what the Manhattan policeman did for the homeless man would never have gotten any attention.

The fact that the shoeless man distanced himself from the shoes proves only that most people have absolutely no understanding about poverty. The poor have so very little, they live in constant fear of losing what little they have. The truly poor are trapped in their lifestyle.

Even the homeless man’s own brother doesn’t understand him. He actually believes the homeless guy chose to live the way he does. The comfortable brother never had to walk the path of the homeless guy. Perhaps if he had, he would have a little more compassion for his own brother and those who live in desperation for a million different reasons.

I once lived on the street. Though it was for but a short time, it was long enough for me to gain a little insight about homelessness.

Peter P. Sirois, Madison