A moment in Life and Death

I was all set to meet my wife early for a pickup out front of Geekdom on Friday. We were going to go out to dinner since I have been working late for a couple of weeks.

I went down the elevator like I normally do. The building has been getting a lot busier lately so I gave myself some more time. Strangely this day, it didn’t stop a bunch of times between the 8th and the 1st floors.

When I got into the lobby, a man walked up to me looking exhausted and cold. He looked at me from a few feet away and he said:

“Sir, please help me.”

I inquired how I might be able to do that. His response was unexpected:

“I have nothing left to live for and I’m afraid I’ll kill myself if someone doesn’t stop me. Can you please call 911 and tell them I’m going to kill myself.”

I’m beginning to realize that those who have never felt anything like this are the lucky ones. The more people I get close to, the more I realize how common it is for the events of life to leave us feeling hopeless.

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As the man looked up and down the open core of the 8 story building, I did as he asked. I called 911. The operator asked which kind of services I needed and I assumed police. When I told her what was happening they started asking  the standard questions

  • What does he look like?
  • How old does he appear?
  • What is his name (it was Adam, and I’ll never forget it)
  • Does he have any weapons (he assured me he did not)

I looked at him while I was answering the questions. There was no light left in his eyes.

“I can’t even see my children anymore. They won’t let me see my children”

Being a new father this really hit me. I can’t imagine being barred from seeing my daughter. I didn’t want to judge him and wonder what he had done for that to happen, but I did, and felt terrible. I thought about the twists and turns of life and all the ways we can lose.

I asked him some questions. Was he from here? He has lived in San Antonio all his life. I asked him if there was anything at all I could do. I told him I just wanted to help, and that I care, and I’m there for him right now, and no one should ever have to feel like he is feeling. I told him I was so sorry.

“I just need to be taken away so I wont hurt myself”

There was nothing else.

The police came. They asked if I was the one who called, and I told them I was. They had him sit on the ground and he answered personal questions I won’t repeat. They had crisis care people coming to help.

They told me I could leave.

I knelt down to this man, my friend, and I reached out my hand.

“Adam, I’m sorry. Please just be ok”

He shook my hand and nodded.

A chance meeting between two people that needed each other for different reasons. My petty problems washed away. There is only one mistake that can’t be erased.

Please call a suicide hotline if you ever feel like you may want to end your own life. There are people that love you and need you. You are not alone.

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