Picture of N.Y. cop eating with homeless man inspires acts of kindness

TROY, N.Y. (WTEN) – A bagel for breakfast on a Sunday morning may not seem like much, but for one homeless man who sat in the rain with an empty stomach, the bagel and a conversation with a cop meant so much more.

Eric Dineen has been homeless for about a week while he waits for the department of social services to close an open case.

“Now I’m basically homeless until the 30th because DSS won’t pay for me to stay,” he said.

On Sunday, a local woman named Kyle McCauley Belocopitsky saw Dineen sitting at the courthouse and bought him breakfast.

“I was out here, I had a sign up saying homeless, and a lady came up and asked me if I wanted breakfast,” Dineen said.

Belocopitsky said she wanted to show her young son the importance of being kind.

“He seemed like a very nice gentleman who was down on his luck, and I know he really appreciated the help and the community outreach,” she said.

Dineen accepted the food and Belocopitsky went back into Bruegger’s Bagels to enjoy her breakfast. But when she saw Officer Danielle Coonradt sit down with Dineen to have her breakfast, she snapped a picture.

“So she decided she was going to share her breakfast with someone who needed it more than her,” Belocopitsky said. “It’s a really great message.”

“The lady cop came down and sat with me and ate breakfast with me and talked about everything that was going on with me,” Dineen said. “She said she’s usually just in her car during breakfast.”

Dineen was surprised at Officer Coonradt’s gesture.

“She sat with me, and it’s the first time that’s ever happened to me,” he said. “You know, sitting and eating with an officer.”

Officer Coonradt was unavailable for comment, but the Troy Police Department released the following statement:

“We’re very happy that this officer showed concern and compassion for this less fortunate person. We encourage our officers to help those in need, and many people are helped and encouraged by members of the Troy PD.”

Belocopitsky was also surprised to learn the picture has been shared hundreds of times on Facebook.

“It’s a little weird,” she said. “I didn’t even know about it until you just came up and told me.”

But their actions inspired others to pay it forward.

Samantha Fredette works at Bruegger’s Bagels. She felt the need to do more.

“I seen a guy holding up a sign, so I figured, you know, good karma,” she said “He needs a little food in his stomach, so I brought him a couple bagels and cream cheese.”

Dineen said this wasn’t the first time people have reached out to him.

“They’ll go around the block and turn around and, like, come back or go to the ATM or go to the store or go to Taco Bell or something and bring me something back,” he said.

Fredette said she sees homeless people often when she’s working. She knows they don’t have anywhere to go.

“We do see a lot of homeless,” she said. “They’re mostly down near the monument, though. They walk by constantly.”

That’s why she’s happy people are trying to help Dineen.

“I think it’s great what everyone is doing for this poor guy,” she said.

Belocopitsky agrees and hopes the simple act of kindness she caught on camera inspires others to help, too.

“Hopefully, if everyone does a little bit more for the less fortunate, we would have a better society,” she said.

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