Five Minutes To Save a Life
Last week, a good friend of mine was visiting my lovely city. Okay.. OUR lovely city since I technically don’t own Seattle. Sunday was the last night of her visit and it was a good one. I took her down 5th ave and up Denny Way to break her into the city. I think she hated me in that moment but she was thankful later. It was a good warm up for how tough a walk this city can be when you’re not used to it. We were overloaded with Seattle “goodness.” Overloaded, tired and then relaxed after visiting a well known spa for women in the area. We were relaxed.. and looking forward to returning home. We waited on the #10 bus as patiently as we could, trying not to think about the big hills we’d have to climb to get back home up on Queen Anne.
That’s when we saw him. The bus was stopped and did not go forward once the light turned green. Were in such shock to see that man sitting on the Pine St bridge.. just over I-5. He was tired. He was clearly worn out from life. His muscled back flexed and relaxed as he decided .. as he thought about his next move. Pedestrians stopped. The bus driver got out and asked him if he would like him to call the police. I couldn’t hear what he said.. He might’ve said nothing. What was he going to say?
I kept saying, “Please hold on.” I just wanted him to hold on a little longer to life. No one wanted to see him jump.. and that was more so of concern and care for him than wanting to avoid an ugly thing. We stood with him in those moments.
The police came. It took all of 5 minutes for them to show up.. or so it seemed. They did grab him off the ledge. We all sighed with relief but none of us were relaxed after that.
I’m still at a loss of what to say about those few minutes. I know people will carry on about how selfish someone is or how much of a coward they are to attempt suicide. I want to gently remind people that someone who has attempted suicide has already seen enough bad.. why beat them down further? And yes.. life can get that bad.. that hard for someone. It happens a lot.
I was proud of the people in our city.. for not pushing him to stay. We just waited. I think .. that kind of kindness and respect is needed. We have no idea what that man has gone through to get to that point. I’m really proud of those people who stood by, got help and waited.
It was the right thing to do and it only took five minutes to save this man’s life.
I hope he sees it as that too. You’re in my thoughts these past few days, stranger. Hang in there. We’re here. I hope you understand that.