A couple of weeks ago a New York plumber managed something really hard and with a great impact on a fellow citizen’s life. He talked a man out of committing suicide. Here’s the story as it was narrated by Joey Hansen, a 29-year old man from Brooklyn.
It was the Monday after Thanksgiving and New York was experiencing a snowstorm that caused traffic jams and lots of impatient drivers trying to get to their homes as soon as possible. Hansen had been dismissed from his job in Manhattan earlier that day due to the bad weather and he was on his way back home in his friend’s car.
When they were on Brooklyn Bridge they realized something was off. Apart from the heavy traffic and the snow, there was something wrong. A man was on one of the bridge’s beams ready to jump off the bridge to his death. According to reporters, the police were there as well, trying to convince him not to do it.
“My first instinct was, ‘oh my God, this person doesn’t belong up there'” Hansen said. “This man was going to take his life and I knew that I had to step up and do something.”
And so he did. He started shouting out so that he could get the man not only to hear him, as he clarified, but to listen to him. He even used Brooklyn slang in order to make himself sound more familiar to the man, to make him feel that there was a friend there talking to him. So the first thing he did was to call him “boss”.
In the clip that was filmed at the time of the incident and then was published on various social media, we can hear Hansen yelling: “Walk back, bro! It’s not worth it! You can change anything in your life!” On the background, one can also hear a couple more voices saying “You can do anything” and “Come on, it’s not worth it”.
At that point, the man turns his head and he looks like he’s having second thoughts about his decision. As Hansen explains, he could tell by his body language that he was actively listening to him and that his words had started having an impact on him. Then he slowly started moving backward and eventually got away from the edge of the beam.
According to the authorities, the person in question is a 24-year old man, who was “emotionally disturbed”. However, no further information about the person has been made public by the police. After getting off the bridge, he was taken emergency by services to Beth-Israel Hospital for treatment.
All the “why’s” and “how’s” are of little importance though; what really matters now is that the person is safe and sound and largely so thanks to a civilian’s initiative to not drive by him indifferently, but to take a moment to make this man feel strong enough to live. More than anything else, this story is to teach us that even a few words may have a huge impact on someone’s life, even at the hardest of times.
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