Last week the nation was delighted and entertained by the story of the police officer in New York City who bought a pair of boots for a homeless man who had no shoes. It just so happened that a tourist captured on film the moment when the officer happily slipped those warm boots on the feet of the delighted recipient. The story gained the attention of national media and was covered extensively as it was a rare, uncommon phenomenon.

The next day, however, the homeless man hid those boots and remained shoeless.

In a subsequent interview, the officer put everything into perspective when he stated that what he did is repeated numerous times every day across the country by anonymous citizens who care about their fellow human beings. The fact of the matter is for the most part, we are kind and compassionate people. What we don’t see is how often people are kind and good-natured, even when some people do not appreciate what they have at first glance.

But there are many more people out there who still need our help and do not have anyone to care for them. We also need to realize that charity begins at home. Look at the homeless man down the street, or even your elderly neighbors who might need a little extra help shoveling the snow out of the driveway.

Regardless of whom you help and the outcome of the situation, we need to remember how important it is to care for those even if they do not have the means to repay you or do not use the gifts that you bestow on them. Who knows, maybe some day that person will realize how blessed he or she is and turn his or her life around as a result of that one action. The importance of your generosity and sacrifice outweighs what they do with what you give or do for these people, especially when they have little or no means to care for themselves. In fact, that is the reason for the season.