An Uber driver stopped a suicide. He was able to do this because he saw what looked like an issue, asked important questions, and took responsibility for a man at risk of suicide who hailed his car. That is how suicide is prevented. Regular people, every day, taking responsibility for their fellow humans living on this earth.
It was a great story I heard recently on National Public Radio. Chad Farley, who has a side gig as an Uber driver was about to end his day when his last fare asked for a ride to the middle of a high bridge. When the young man got into the car, Farley, already suspicious casually started a conversation. His instincts were correct when the young man spoke about his terminal brain cancer and other personal issues. Clearly, this man was in danger.
Farley worked with the toll booth operator and supervisor to get help. When the man asked to be let off at the rest area at the bridge, Farley stated that the “Lord impressed on him” to take a selfie with the man so he could send it to police to help identify him. Using the picture and the quick thinking of this Uber driver, the police were able to save that young man’s life.
We never know who is at risk for suicide. We never know who around us is suffering, feeling alone, and sees suicide as the answer to their problems. We never know unless we ask. Asking is the awkward part, the scary part, the part most of us are resistant to. Asking, takes responsibility.
You see, I think that the most effective measure we can take to prevent suicide is to take responsibility for each other. My Christian faith calls me to take responsibility for others that I experience on this journey.
Galatians 6:2 in the Christian New Testament reads: “Carry each other’s burdens and so you will fulfill the law of Christ.”
That takes responsibility. That takes courage. That takes faithfulness. And that, will save a life.
Sometimes, you will know when you’ve saved a life. Like Chad Farley, it will be obvious to you that a person needs you and when you reach out, he or she will appreciate your efforts. Other times, it will not be obvious and you might never know how that ride you offered, that smile you gave, the directions you patiently pointed out at The Exchange will tell another soul that he or she is not alone and that people really do care. And that, will save a life.