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Random Acts of Kindness in Laguna Niguel

Recently, a photo went viral of a New York police officer buying a homeless man a pair of boots, but things like this happen close to home too, say locals including the chief of police services, and a homeless advocate.

Just when you thought you there were no Good Samaritans left, lo and behold, they are right under your nose.

A few weeks ago, on a cold November night in Times Square, officer Lawrence DePrimo was working a counterterrorism post when he encountered an older, barefooted homeless man. The officer disappeared for a moment, then returned with a new pair of boots, and knelt to help the man put them on, reported the New York Times. The act of human kindness would have gone unnoticed and mostly forgotten, had it not been for a tourist from Arizona.

The tourist, Jennifer Foster, took the photo of what transpired and it went viral. You can see the screenshot of the photo above of the NYPD Facebook where it is has since been posted.

But acts of random kindness don't just happen in New York, they happen right here in Laguna Niguel,

"There are dozens of stories of good deeds that our deputies do county-wide on a daily basis.  I’m sure every agency in the county has similar stories, as well," he said.  "Off the top of my head, I can recall a several incidents here in Laguna Niguel and several more I have personally been a part of elsewhere in the county."

For instance, he says there was the time two deputies responded to a barber shop, because a male patron had no money to pay for his haircut.  

"After arriving and calming everyone down, the deputies determined the patron suffered from Alzheimer’s disease.  He was confused, truly had no money and no way of getting home.  The deputies arranged to pay for his haircut and drove him home, making sure someone was available to care for him before they left," Ferguson said.

Another act, was a short time ago, when a woman from the East Coast came to Laguna Niguel Police Services, because she had lost all of her identification cards during a connecting flight in the central part of the U.S.

"She was here to attend the funeral of a loved-one and had to fly back home the following day.  She was originally from the Middle East and, being very candid, felt she would have difficulty getting on her flight to return home the next day without any I.D.," he said.  "The police agency where her I.D. was lost would not take a lost property report for her over the phone."

However, one of the local deputies took a lost property report for the woman and made arrangements with the Records Division to give her a copy.  For security and tracking reasons, reports are normally released through records, which can take a number of days.  

"The deputy called the police department in New Jersey where the woman lived, had them pull up a copy of them woman’s drivers license through their DMV and had the officer in New Jersey FAX a copy of the license to Laguna Niguel Police Services," he said. "With the FAX copy of her license and our report in hand, she was able to fly home as scheduled."

Ferguson says in terms of the NYPD story: "Regarding the story of the homeless man, we meet with our homeless regularly and know who most of the are.  They are given information about local resources and assisted when necessary."

There Are Local Angels

Another resident who is connected to the community is Mary Knab, a long time advocate for the homeless and who works with the Faith Episcopal Church. She also said she saw the NYPD story. 

"Of course it touched my heart," she said. "I first want to say that the Laguna Niguel Sheriff's Department in general has been very professional and compassionate with the homeless in our community."

"Recently one of our homeless called 911 at my suggestion when her diabetic husband was missing for more than two hours and she didn't know if he was in diabetic crisis or not. After beginning an exhaustive search, the missing man walked up to his truck," she said.

The officers told his wife to feel free to call them any time that she was worried about him in a similar circumstance given his medical condition.

"Homeless people in general are wary of law enforcement, not because they are criminals but because they are vulnerable," she said.

Over the years, Knab says she has heard stories of incredible generosity, such as the couple in a late model BMW who happened upon a homeless couple picnicking on the tailgate of their truck, and after talking for a few minutes handed them $500 in cash.

"A real Godsend as they were trying to figure out how to raise the money to pay their car insurance and get some needed medical care," she said. "The first thing they did was to give $50 of it to 'Hands of Grace' "!

In another instance, a couple who met some of  the church's homeless at El Lazo basketball park while walking their dogs, brought them warm homemade muffins one morning.

"Then there are the people who just keep saying 'yes,' like my personal mechanic, Dan at Bridgestone Automotive," she said. "Every time I have asked him to help one of our group with a mechanical problem he has a way to work it out with and for them."

Or the local women who was a hairdresser but needed more steady income with the downturn in the economy so she took a job at the food court at Costco.

"She called me to see if she could come to one of our dinners and give free haircuts. She came that night and cut nine heads of hair. She said that she had been close to homelessness once herself and just wanted to try to help those who were currently living in that circumstance," Knab said.

Another angel provided hotel rooms at Christmas for ALL of the homeless that come to the church homeless dinners. That was for 2011 and 2012.

"I was recently told that he could not do it again this year. Although his gift will be missed we will all be forever grateful for what he was able to do. So, there are a lot of angels here in Laguna Niguel and they regularly find their way to those who need help here in Laguna Niguel. And we are grateful."

Mary Knab December 20, 2012 at 07:11 AM
I am happy to report that our "hotel angel" came through and we were able to provide hotel rooms to the twenty homeless guests that attended our Christmas party tonight. Through donations from our five partner churches and congregations and local businesses and neighbors, we were also able to provide blankets, pillows, sweats, hats, gloves, scarves, underwear, socks, flashlights, journals, and toiletries to our guests as well. We still have a need for a man's bike for one of our guests who recently lost his car. If you have one that you can donate, please call me at 949-306-4611. Additionally, we have a family of six that we were able to help into housing in the Inland Empire this month. All of their cash was required in order to get into the apartment. They have two boys and two girls, ages 12-16. I had hoped to have some extra gift cards tonight that I could send out to them, but are turnout was high and do all I have left is one $25 grocery card. Anyone wishing to donate gift cards that I could send out to them in order to buy gifts for their children can contact me at the number given above. Because it is so close to Christmas i don't have time to try to solicit from local businesses ( who have already given so much). Thank you to all our neighbors who donated, cooked, volunteered and supported us in our efforts. God bless you.
jake friedman January 18, 2013 at 08:36 PM
well, well, welll, good job this will defiently boost the citys image. where can i go to see real storys going on in laguna niguel that arn't sugar coated. you know what would REALLY be a act of kindness from the laguna niguel police - DOING THERE JOB. because their NOT. WHY??

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