A Biker’s Message
I’m so thankful for people who aren’t afraid to show compassion, and who aren’t afraid to reach out to someone else in need. I heard a story of such a person: a bike messenger in San Francisco– who had been a bike messenger for 25 years–not only happened to be in the right place at the right time, but he happened to do the right thing, too.
One day, he biked across the Golden Gate Bridge like he had done many times before. If you’ve ever cycled in a busy city, you’ll understand how hard this can be: the Golden Gate Bridge is often filled with tourists, walkers, joggers and others on bikes. Somehow, out of all the people around him, he saw HER. A woman dressed in a business suit who seemed perplexed, even sad.
He rode by her and intended to keep going– he had documents to deliver and a full workday ahead of him. But the thought that “something’s wrong” made him stop his bike, turn around and go back to find her. When he returned to where she was, she leaned far over the rail.
“Are you OK?” he called. She didn’t respond. He reached out and put his hand on her shoulder and asked again: “Miss, are you OK?” she jumped back, startled. He could see her eyes were filled with tears.
She sat down with her back to the rail and the bike messenger joined her. He asked her: “Were you going to jump?”
“Yes,” she said.
“Do you have any kids?”
“Yes… two girls,” the woman answered.
The conversation continued and the bike messenger told her that her children needed her. He urged her to go home to her kids and to tell them she loved them. He urged her to get mental health help. He exchanged numbers with the woman and told her to call him when she arrived home, safe so he would know that her life didn’t end that day by suicide.
And the woman kept her promise: she got home that night, kissed her kids and called the bike messenger to let him know she was all right.
The bike messenger and the woman have been great friends since. After all, he saved her life. If he hadn’t stopped– if he had simply ridden past her– two little girls would be without a mother and another positive member of our society would have been lost.
Compassion can not only change a person’s life, but save one, too. Never be afraid to reach out; it may matter more than you know.