Man Who Can't Swim Sees Woman Plunge into River, Risks Life Trying To Save Her


Manhattan resident Norman Pope walked to the East River for what was supposed to be a relaxing morning on Aug. 2.

But a bizarre turn of events left Pope fighting for his life, as he attempted to save a stranger.

Pope, 29, said he was reading when out of nowhere, an unclothed woman began to scream before ultimately throwing herself into the river.

“I’m from Boston!” the woman yelled. “I can swim!”

Pope’s initial shock turned to concern for the woman’s well-being. Instinctively, he jumped into the chilly waters to try and bring the woman to shore before she harmed herself.

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But Pope, who does not know how to swim, soon found himself on the brink of drowning.

“I’m looking around, I don’t see anyone, so I just jumped,” Pope recalled. “Tried to save her, and that didn’t work out too (well).”

Fortunately, it wasn’t long before emergency responders were on the scene. According to the New York Daily News, a parks department worker threw a rope out to Pope, and was able to pull him safely to shore.

Meanwhile, it took emergency responders over an hour to coax the reluctant woman onto a boat. Pope commented that the woman was actually a great swimmer, despite her questionable actions.

As news of the bizarre story spread, it caught the ears of 65-year-old Chuck Grimley, CEO of New Jersey-based Grimley Financial.

Grimley was impressed that Pope would risk his own life to save the life of someone he’d never even met.

“When we define heroes, this is what we’re talking about,” Grimley told the New York Daily News.

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“How many people would do that?” Grimley said. “I’m not a sugar plum — I’d be reluctant and I can swim.”

Grimley wanted to get in touch with Pope to meet him, take him to dinner, and find out what the young man might want as a thank-you reward.

“This guy deserves something,” Grimley said.

“Maybe this is a guy that needs a new suit. Maybe it’s a guy that needs a car payment. And if he doesn’t need anything, we’ll make a donation to the charity of his choice,” Grimley said.

Pope was humbled and honored that Grimley would reach out to him. Pope was honest about what he needed to move forward in life:

“I need a job,” Pope said.

Pope said he’s still somewhat haunted by everything that happened that morning. The woman, in her 20s, was taken to a local hospital for a psychiatric evaluation.

Meanwhile, Pope’s good Samaritan act will hopefully land him a job. He already has the most enticing qualifications that any respectable employer would want — courage, heart, and selflessness.

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A graduate of Grand Canyon University, Kim Davis has been writing for The Western Journal since 2015, focusing on lifestyle stories.
Kim Davis began writing for The Western Journal in 2015. Her primary topics cover family, faith, and women. She has experience as a copy editor for the online publication Thoughtful Women. Kim worked as an arts administrator for The Phoenix Symphony, writing music education curriculum and leading community engagement programs throughout the region. She holds a degree in music education from Grand Canyon University with a minor in eating tacos.
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