Man Stops On Bridge — And Saves Stranger From Jumping

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bridge

A North Carolina man saved a life last week when he stopped to talk to a stranger — one who was standing at the edge of a highway bridge, ready to jump.

Anthony Brown, nicknamed “Buzz,” is a leak detection specialist for the city of Asheville. 

On Wednesday, March 3rd, Brown was driving to a job when he noticed a man standing dangerously close to the drop-off of a bridge over Interstate 40.

Brown quickly turned his car around. He approached the man on foot cautiously, concerned for his well-being. He introduced himself and asked for the man’s name.

The suicidal stranger then “told me there was nothing I could do to help him or save him,” Brown said in an interview with ABC 13.

Yet he persisted in his efforts to do so.

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Licensed professional counselor Monica Ramunda explained why it is important to reach out to those in pain, the way Brown did.

“We often don’t realize that a small gesture of kindness, such as smiling at a stranger, or simply asking how someone is, can have a huge impact on another person,” Ramunda asserted, “sometimes being the difference between life and death.” 

According to the counselor, those experiencing suicidal thoughts often “feel overwhelmed,” and “are consumed by negative thoughts due to depression and significant mental health issues.”

“Just one positive human interaction can turn things around and help them hold on for one more day,” Ramunda said.

The expert brought up the example of Kevin Hines, a man who leaped from the Golden Gate Bridge in an attempt to end his life and survived to tell the story. Hines has since become a prominent activist for suicide prevention and said that he instantly regretted his choice to jump.

“He was looking for one person on his bus ride to the Golden Gate Bridge to see his pain, reach out and change his mind,” Ramunda said of Hines.

Luckily, Anthony Brown provided this vital companionship to the perfect stranger he saved.

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After Brown explained that he wasn’t there to judge the man, but because he was genuinely concerned for his safety, the distressed individual began to open up about his troubles.

Instead, Brown says he “told him I had a story to tell him, and I needed him to listen.”

Brown then spoke of his own brother, who had died from suicide a while back. He told the man of the damage the death had caused him and his family, reminding the stranger of the loved ones who would be left behind to grieve.

“The pain never really goes away,” Brown said. “It gets easier every day, but the pain never really goes away.”

Ramunda shed light on the long-term psychological effects of losing someone to suicide.

She described a phenomenon called “the ripple effect of suicide,” which, she said, “speaks to the negative impact suicide has on not just the immediate family and close friends, but the community.” 

For those close to the victim, Ramunda said, “there can be blame and a sense of helplessness, as well as depression and anxiety, following the death of a loved one by suicide.”

She explained that “the impact of suicide can have a far-reaching influence on the lives of others, that lasts a lifetime.

Apparently, this knowledge had an impact on the desperate man standing on the edge of the bridge. During their conversation, Brown managed to lead him away from the brink of death, and they slowly walked back toward Brown’s car. 

“Eventually, we came off that bridge to safety,” the rescuer recalled.

Shortly afterward, law enforcement arrived on the scene, and the survivor was taken to a hospital.

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The Asheville police praised Brown for his heroism.

Officer Vincent Garetto said in a statement that Brown attempted to leave the scene and “not make a big deal” out of his role in the events, but the cop made sure to give the caring man credit.

“Anthony very well saved a life today, and should be recognized for his actions,” Garetto said.

However, “I wouldn’t call myself a hero,” Brown told reporters. He said that he hopes others who hear his story will be motivated to intervene when witnessing a similar situation.

Monica Ramunda provided a few tips on how to help someone overcome suicidal ideations.

“Letting someone know that they are important and you hear and feel their pain can help them feel understood,” the counselor said. “Listening and asking questions about how they are doing, what their pain is, are simple yet powerful ways to support a person who is contemplating suicide.”

Anthony “Buzz” Brown would probably agree with Ramunda’s advice, as he said he was upset to see others ignoring the plight of the man he saved. The recent rescuer believes that we owe such support to our fellow humans.

“It’s just something that we have to do for one another,” Brown said. “Pause to help one another. Love one another.”

If you or somebody that you know is experiencing a mental health crisis, it is important to seek help. Call SAMHSA’s National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357) or text “HOME” to 741741 to be connected with the Crisis Text Line

RELATED: 5 Meaningful Ways To Support Someone Who Survived A Suicide Attempt

Allie McGlone is a writer who covers a variety of topics for YourTango, including pop culture and entertainment.