I have walked across the Roberto Clemente Bridge, in Pittsburgh, countless times. I walked across it when Roberto Clemente was alive and playing baseball for the Pittsburgh Pirates and it was still the humble ‘Sixth Street Bridge’. I’ve written about that bridge and its “sisters” the Andy Warhol and the Rachel Carson bridges and I’ve shared many photos. Those photos were taken as my daughter and I have walked to and from the Strip District and as Faith and my brother and I walked home from a Penguins game.
The bridge is often crowded. It’s closed to traffic prior to baseball and football games. Among the tourists and residents walking to the stadium, there’s always a few homeless people looking for a little help. Given what it costs to attend a major league game, it’s hard not to give a small amount to someone less fortunate. We hope that the contribution helps, but we never really know.
Two days ago, a Major League Baseball umpire came face to face with the reality of what happens when things get too hard. Walking across the Roberto Clemente Bridge, he noticed a woman standing on the outside of the railing. She was preparing to end her life by jumping into the Allegheny River. He wasn’t going to let that happen. He grabbed her:
“No one wants to help me,” she repeated. “Just let me go.”
“No, we’re here to help you.”
“You’ll forget me tomorrow.”
“I’ll never forget you,” he said. “You can have my promise on that.”
This story details the encounter, which ended with the young woman en route to a hospital, and hopefully to the help she needed.
The lesson I think we can all take from the story is summarized in the umpire’s last statement:
“You never know what somebody’s day looks like,” he said. “It’s a nice day, everyone’s out for a walk, and somebody’s not having the same day you’re having. I was just glad to help.”
We don’t know what kind of day the people we pass and the people we encounter are having. We don’t know what kind of day our coworkers are having. Sometimes, we don’t know what kind of day our family members are having. I hope I can pay closer attention in the future, and I hope I’ll be prepared and willing to help someone if I have to.
In the United States, if you or someone you know might be suicidal, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24/7 at 1-800-273-8255.
The “We are the World” Blogfest is in its fourth month of a year-long journey. This blogfest’s goal is to spread the message of light, hope and love in today’s world. We are challenging all participants to share the positive side of humanity. This month’s co-hosts , Belinda McGrath Witzenhausen Ashlynn Waterstone Michelle Wallace Sylvia McGrath Sylvia Stein will welcome participants and encourage all to join in during future months. #WATWB is a blog hop on the last Friday of every month. Click HERE to check out the intention and rules of the blogfest and feel free to sign up at any time between now and February of 2018.