A Dublin teenager's story of meeting a dangerously depressed man has gone viral on Facebook.
Sometimes, reaching out to a stranger in need can save a life. And all it takes is not pretending you didn't see a stranger who obviously needs help. I know it feels impossible, but give it a shot. That's what Jamie Harrington did, and now he's a legit hero.
Harrington lives in Dublin's Ballymun neighborhood. One day, he encountered a man ominously sitting on the edge of a bridge. Unable to walk by without saying anything, Harrington engaged him in conversation. Here's the story in his own words, as he told it to Humans of Dublin:
"I was just on my way to the American sweet shop to buy some Gatorade, when I saw this guy in his 30s sitting on the ledge of the bridge. I just thought, "wow..." I stopped and asked him if he was okay, but I knew from the look in his eyes he wasn't, and he didn't say anything either, but I saw tears coming from his eyes. I pleaded with him for a while to come down and sit on the steps, and eventually he did. We sat on the sidewalk on the south side of the Liffey and talked for about 45 minutes, about what was happening to him, why was he feeling that way..."
Despite the stranger's protests, Harrington was eventually able to convince him to let him call an ambulance. The man was taken to St. James Hospital, but Harrington got his number first, just so he could check up on him. He knew he wouldn't be able to sleep otherwise. Then, months later, he heard from the man again. What he had to say will melt any part of your heart that's still not melted from the first part of the story:
"And about three months ago, he texted me that his wife is pregnant, they're having a boy, and they're naming him after me. Can you believe that? They're going to name their child after me... He said in that moment that I approached him, he was just about to jump, and those few words saved his life. That they're still ringing in his head every day. 'Are you okay?' I can't really understand how these few words could save his life, but he told me, 'Imagine if nobody ever asked you those words…'"
A lot of times, we're so worried about being too personal with each other that we don't reach out even though we know something's wrong. But when you think about somebody being treated that way by everyone in their life, it paints a grim picture. And think of it this way: if you help out a stranger in need, you might become Internet famous like Jamie Harrington! His post on Humans of Dublin has gone the good kind of viral, with more than 46,000 likes and almost 6,000 shares.
Nor is it his first brush with online fame. Last month, Harrington was profiled by Dublin 2020 as the "Unofficial Lord Mayor of Ballymun." Check it out here, and marvel at the fact that you can still fall further in love with this kid:
He might be the unofficial lord mayor of Ballymun now, but I wouldn't be surprised if he's the real mayor of Dublin in a few years. Then, who knows? Mayor of the world? Probably.