True happiness comes from the joy of deeds well done, the zest of creating things new.

~ Antoine de Saint-Exupery ~

A Little Life Support

January 20th, 2013 ~ Est. reading time: 1 min, 40 secs

City or country, life isn’t easy.

There’s a fine line between life and death. Being our last day in Sydney, Ruth and I decided on catching the train to the airport.

Hot, sweaty, and in a hurry schlepping luggage, we headed into the subway to get the next train, which was due in 6 minutes. Time enough to start cooling down and watch life unfold with a spot of people watching.

Without warning, a man in a bright vest walked forward to the platform edge and sat down with his legs dangling over the side. Soon, people started noticing as they realized this fellow was planning to take his own life.

A young man approached him and tried to get the man’s attention but got no response. Meanwhile, a young woman ran up the the escalators to get help. With only 2 minutes before the train came my mind was racing with questions: “Surely, someone else knows what to do. I’m from interstate. Should I risk getting involved? What’s at stake here? Whatever! This is a matter of life or death.”

So, I came over, crouched down next to the man and said in a jokey, friendly way, “Tell you what. How about we go over and sit down together on those chairs over there and you can tell us about your life? Whatever you’re worried about, lets talk it over.”

Then, as the fellow was muttering a confused reply, we could hear the train approaching the station. Without a word, the young guy, a bystander, and I grabbed the man and hoisted him out of harms way, seconds before the train thundered in.

Talking with the man at the seats, he said something about debts, losing his wife, and his life being a mess. Judging by the hospital tag on his wrist and how incoherent he sounded, we guessed he had a psychiatric condition. Perhaps, he had checked himself out of hospital prematurely. Who knows? But, by now, security staff had arrived and we had to catch that train.

While Ruth briefed security, I wished the fellow well and shook the young man’s hand who had first offered help. As cruel as life can be, it was encouraging to see so much care from total strangers.

It could have all gone horribly wrong. But, thanks to a little life support, this man has a second chance.


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