Ohio bus driver Damone Hunter probably wasn’t expecting to save someone’s life when he happened to drive past a woman on the brink of suicide last month.
In fact, the 24-year long Regional Transit Authority employee had simply been doing what he had been hired to do on that fateful Thursday, February 16, according to the New York Daily News — transport a load of passengers from point A to point B without much fuss or delay; but as Hunter discovered, an unforeseen pause in his route ended up becoming very necessary once he witnessed a despondent woman preparing to leap into the frigid waters of the Miami River from the Main Street Bridge in Dayton.
“I wasn’t trying to be heroic,” Hudson relayed to FOX 45 about the ordeal.
“I just saw someone that looked like she was definitely in pain or trouble, and I just wanted to make a connection.”
In footage pulled from surveillance cameras inside of the bus, Hunter is seen pulling over the vehicle alongside a metal rail connected to the bridge before opening the door and speaking directly to the victim.
“Hey, miss,” he politely inquires, “why don’t you come back on the other side of the rail?”
When his question bears no response, Hunter then slowly exits his seat and walks to the door, keeping just enough distance between him and the suicide victim to allow the Ohio resident to maintain calm about the bus driver’s intentions.
“Hey, miss,” Hunter asks again, “why don’t you come back on this side of the rail for me?”
After another beat, Damone steps completely off the bus and continues chatting with the unnamed woman. The camera cuts off shortly after that, but the driver explained that he simply pressed on with his conversation in hopes of getting the Ohio woman to see reason and ultimately, change her mind about committing suicide.
“[I said], ma’am, you look like you’re having a bad day,” Hunter recalled, before emphatically offering the woman a hug.
“[I] just [said] anything to get her to come back over on the other side of the rail,” he continued.
A passerby witnessing the moment called in police for further assistance, who arrive not too long after the incident to transport the woman to a safer environment. Hunter, meanwhile, has been considered by most to be the one thing he never set out to be that or any other day: a hero.
“There is not a right or wrong approach to that,” Dayton police detective Patty Tackett stated.
“It’s about drawing from personal knowledge and experiences in those instances. He did a great job.”
One of Damone’s bosses at the RTA, Jason Allen, equally heaped praised onto his employee, as WHIO notes, ultimately referring to Hunter as being, “one of the best drivers we have.”
“I know that every person’s struggle is different,” Hunter said of the woman, “and everybody’s going through something, but you always want to continue.”
And continue he did. Following the fuss surrounding the failed suicide attempt, the driver simply got back on-board his bus and drove on through the streets of Ohio to transport his passengers to their destinations without further incident.
A planned ceremony to honor Mr. Hunter for what he did that February day is set to occur during an upcoming RTA board meeting on March 5. Despite not wanting to make a big deal out of the situation, he admits that the desperate woman made quite the personal impact on him.
“Life is a roller coaster,” the Ohio bus driver remarked about the suicide incident, “[and] you go up [and] you’re going to come down, but you’ve got to think ‘I’m going back up,’ and hopefully it’s going up for her now.”
[Featured Image by Johnrob/iStock]