On Wednesday afternoon, MLB umpire John Tumpane witnessed a woman climb off the side of the Roberto Clemente Bridge in Pittsburgh, PA, and knew something just wasn’t right.
He explained to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that others around him couldn’t tell him what was going on and that’s when he decided to do something. He confronted the woman and asked her “what was going on” She told him she “just wanted to get a better look of the city from this side.”
Tumpane knew that wasn’t the case. He continued to the Post-Gazette:
“Oh no,” Tumpane said, hooking his arm around hers. “You don’t want to do that. It’s just as good over here. Let’s go grab some lunch and talk.”
“No, no, no,” she answered. “I’m better off on this side. Just let me go.”
“I’m not going to let you go,” he said. “Let’s talk this out. We’ll get you back over here.”
“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.”
He told one passerby to call 911 then continued to speak to the woman. As she tried to free herself from his grip, he held on tighter, determined not to let her go:
“I was thinking, ‘God, this has got to be a good ending, not a bad ending,’ and held on for dear life,” Tumpane said. “She said, ‘You don’t care about me.’ I said, ‘I care.’ She said, ‘I just want to end it right now. I want to be in a better place.’ I said, ‘You’re going to be all right.’”
“I was just trying to tell her it was going to be all right. There’s help,” Tumpane said. “We’re going to be better if she can get back on this side. I said, ‘All these people are here. Look at all these people who want to help you. We’re all here for the right reasons. We want to get you better.’ ”
Authorities quickly arrived and helped retrieve the woman from the bridge, but Tumpane remained determined to stay with her.
As medical personnel prepared the ambulance, Tumpane “knelt next to the woman and tried to comfort her.” She gave him her name as he prayed for her:
“I told her, ‘I didn’t forget her, and we’d be here, and she’s better off on this side than the other side.’ ” he recalled. “I just want her to know that.”
The woman was taken to a hospital with non life-threatening injuries, city police spokeswoman Sonya Toler said.
The incident obviously had an affect on Tumpane, who said suicide had never hit him so close before. But he wants to visit the woman before he heads off for his next series:
“It’s a sad day, but it ended on a positive note,” he said. “Hopefully it’s an eye-opener for her as well, and it can help her get back on track.”
In the end, Tumpane said, it was a matter of “right place, right time.” Suicide hasn’t before hit home for him, he added, but he understands the importance of conversations about dark truths many tend to avoid in everyday conversation.
“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.”
If you or someone you know might be suicidal please know there is help. Please call the National Prevention Lifeline 24/7 at 1-800-273-8255.DONATE
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