A pair of beer deliverymen who spotted a suicidal man used the best tool they had to talk him off the ledge of a bridge — a 12-pack of beer.
Jason Gaebel and Kwame Anderson were delivering beer in St. Paul, Minnesota, when they spotted a man standing at the ledge of a bridge on Interstate 94. Gaebel called out to the man, asking why he was at the ledge, and the man said he was going to take his life. As the San Francisco Chronicle noted, Anderson called police, and a 911 dispatcher told the pair to hold tight until police arrived.
Anderson said they couldn’t wait that long.
“I’m thinking it’s either I help this guy or he’s going to jump,” he told news station KMSP. “I gotta keep this guy entertained somehow because if I wait for police, things could be over.”
Anderson struck up a conversation with the man, and kept talking even after police arrived. The two found that they shared a common upbringing, with the man raised in a tough neighborhood in Chicago and Anderson raised in the East Side of St. Paul, which he said was “the hood, just like you.”
Anderson asked the man if he wanted food or needed money, but the man declined. Then, the beer deliveryman came up with another idea.
“Do you want to have a drink with me?” Anderson asked, causing the man to pause. “Yeah? A beer?” the deliveryman continued.
Anderson grabbed a 12-pack of Coors Light from his truck and the two men shared a drink as the suicidal man backed away from the edge. Emergency workers were then able to get him into an ambulance.
This is not the first time that a suicidal person has been saved by the kind words of a stranger. In 2016, a South Carolina police officer talked down a man planning to jump off a bridge by connecting over football — and their mutual dislike of the Dallas Cowboys. As Inside Edition noted, the officer’s bodycam caught the entire incident, which attracted some viral attention.
Police say two Minnesota beer deliverymen prevented a suicidal man from jumping off an interstate bridge in St. Paul by offering the man a Coors Light. https://t.co/b8YjmwAOgG— KSAT 12 (@ksatnews) August 17, 2018
The story has attracted viral attention online, leading to plenty of praise for Kwame Anderson. His employer, Breakthru Beverages, posted on Facebook praising him and the other driver. Police have also commended their actions, saying the incident shows how much a difference it can make to simply stop and talk to someone who is going through a difficult time.
If you or someone you know is in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741. For readers outside the U.S., visit Suicide.org or Befrienders Worldwide for international resources you can use to find help.