On Sept. 21, 2017, a man in England found himself at the edge, both figuratively and literally. He was at the edge of despair and decided he could not continue living.
His hopelessness led him to the edge of a bridge in Waltham Cross. He tied a rope around his neck and planned to jump.
The suicidal man did not plan on the intervention of five strangers. Remarkably, three of the five strangers who took an active role in saving the man’s life were children.
The school day was over for 14-year-old Sammy Farah, 13-year-old Devonte Cafferkey, and 12-year-old Shawn Young. Sammy and Devonte lingered, but Shawn urged them to get moving.
Their timing led them to spot the man sitting on the bridge with a rope around his neck before he jumped. They ran over to the man despite their ages with the incredible maturity and sensitivity often required when interacting with a person trying to commit suicide.
Sammy and Devonte held onto the man hoping to physically restrain him from jumping while reminding him that he must have a family who cares about him. Shawn sought out additional help.
The man cried as he wiped away tears. He handed the boys his cell phone and said, “If it rings, don’t answer it,” according to the Hertfordshire Mercury.
Joanne Stammers, 47, did answer Shawn’s call for help, though. She was on her way home from visiting her mother.
The man with the rope around his neck began to pass out, which made it more difficult for the boys to hold him. Stammers was able to take over.
The physical demands of holding onto the suicidal man before police arrived took quite a toll on Stammers. She has a rare disorder called Klippel–Trénaunay syndrome, leaving her arms covered in bruises from her selfless and successful attempt in preventing the man from jumping.
“The boys relaxed when I took over but they were distraught, I kept thinking they need counseling because he had somebody’s life in their hands and if they let go he would have died. The man just didn’t want to live anymore, he was crying and I said to him, ‘Please don’t do this to us’ and he said, ‘Then go and just leave me,'” Stammers told the Hertfordshire Mercury.
They, along with an additional man named James Higlett, did not simply leave him, however, and he was taken to a hospital once the police arrived. The five compassionate strangers will each receive an award from the Royal Humane Society for their brave intervention.
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