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Thursday, May 18, 2017

The incredible kindness of strangers

A group of strangers showed amazing compassion, patience and resilience when a man threatened to commit suicide and jump off a London bridge. They held on to him with their arms, belts, anything they could find, for two hours, to keep him from ending his life.

Suicidal Jumper

The small group of “Good Samaritans” saw the troubled man  was in grave danger. The man was standing on the edge of a foot bridge in Golders Green, London. The bridge was suspended sixty to seventy feet over a paved road.
The passers-by joined forces and held the man as tight as they could, determined that they wouldn’t let him go. The Samaritans held on, wrapping their arms around his neck, waist and legs until other people came to assist with rope to fasten the man to the bars. They talked to the young man, prayed for him and encouraged him, hanging on to him for two hours.

London Strangers

As everyone held on for dear life, drivers passed by and those who were stuck in traffic couldn’t help but get out of their vehicles and capture the incredible act of kindness on their phones. People watched on in awe, hoping that nothing terrible would happen to any of these people.
Nigel Howard, who witnessed the incident, said the crowd wanted to see what was going on and some were frustrated  because they couldn't cross the bridge until they realized why and then they joined in, shouting encouragement"
“There were quite a few gasps and shocked faces, but a lot of people did not actually realize what was going on until it was pointed out to them.”

London Bridge

Eventually, emergency services came to help.  Once the man was tightly fastened, firefighters used a hydraulic lift to lower him to the ground.  He was finally safe and escorted to an ambulance.
The  troubled young man likely would have broken his neck or burst his skull  when he hit that pavement, had it not been for the heroic members of the public who came together and volunteered for the greater good of someone else’s well-being.  The young man was severely depressed and weeping and seemed very much alone. Now, he must realize that people do care what happens to him and his life does matter.  We hope that knowledge helps him in his recovery at the mental facility where he was later confined.
Depression is an invisible killer. People usually don't know how to respond to it. So the victims of depression learn to cover their sadness and feelings of hopelessness. Red flags are hard to spot, so we are not aware that over fifty million people in the USA and Canada suffer from depression and more than fifty percent of suicides are due to depression.
What can we do? Be good listeners to troubled family members and friends, recognize behavior that indicates people are suffering emotionally or are unhappy. Show compassion and understanding. Ask what we can do to help them .... and mean it.

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