Nobody will ever know what exactly ran through the young man’s mind, tormenting him as he climbed the protective railing of a pedestrian bridge and prepared to jump. What we do know is that he felt alone, desperate, and hopeless enough to try and end his life at just 26 years old.
As other officers from Arizona’s Chandler Police Department waited nearby, Officer Aaron Little approached. He had only one thing of value to offer. He hoped it would be enough.
“Just come up here buddy,” Little soothed, adding he only wanted to talk. If the man came back down and reconsidered, he promised, “I will give you a hug.”
“I don’t know why,” the man yelled out in a heartbreaking confession. Still, he didn’t move. Little only responded with compassion and love. In that moment, he was more than an officer of the law. He was another human being trying to reach — and help — a lost soul.
“Come back up here, man.” Little said. “Don’t you want that hug?”
And through the dark haze of his suicidal thoughts, something became clear to the man. He did want the simple comfort of a hug. And, deep inside, he wanted to live. So, slowly and carefully, he climbed back up the fence as Little gently encouraged him.
When he jumped back down to safety, the man was visibly afraid. He feared punishment. But Little made good on his word…
…and coaxed the man in for a much-needed, heartfelt hug. As the two embraced and Little relayed the news to his fellow officers, the man burst into tears, sobbing in his savior’s arms.
The department shared body cam footage from that March night on Facebook, commending Little for his expert handling of the situation. “While this incident is extraordinary, the compassion Officer Little showed is a common occurrence with the men & women of the Chandler Police Department,” they wrote. The community agreed.
We’ve all felt alone. Many of us have felt so overwhelmingly sad we believe things will never get better. But the actions of this heroic officer just go to show that there’s always someone who cares, someone who’s willing to listen. We just have to reach out. We’re so glad this young man didn’t follow through. Here’s hoping he’s getting the help he needs.
Watch as Little convinces a man his life is worth living in the video below. Share as a reminder to always act with understanding and kindness towards others. It might just save another life.
In the early evening of Thursday, March 28, 2019, a 26-year-old male climbed the protective railing of a pedestrian bridge that spans the Price Freeway with the intent to jump. Officer A. Little arrived at the bridge and, after developing a rapport with the male, Officer Little was able to convince him to climb off the railing and back to the safety of the bridge.While this incident is extraordinary, the compassion Officer Little showed is a common occurrence with the men & women of the Chandler Police Department.Officer Little’s body worn camera captured their interaction:
Posted by Chandler Police Department on Wednesday, June 12, 2019
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