On Tuesday at four minutes past two in the afternoon I had to call the police. A man was stood on the outside of the barrier on Burdock Way. At first my brain didn’t really compute what was happening. ‘what’s that idiot doing there he’s going to fall’ I thought. It took a second, but only a second, to work out that he wasn’t an idiot he was thinking about jumping.
I called 999 and told them what I could see. You can imagine the sort of questions: Road name? Who are you? Where are you? I was dealing with it quite well, there was a bit of adrenaline and my heart thumped a bit more loudly, but overall I was just being calm and reporting what I saw. Until. Until the 999 operator asked me how old the man was. I looked up and said ”about 20 at a guess” then it hit me. So young. So so young.
I only took the police five minutes to get to him and as soon as they did the 999 operation said goodbye. At that point we moved on, no sense in either getting in the way or running the risk of seeing him actually jump. However, his plight stayed with me and I couldn’t shake the image of this young man stood on the edge of the flyover.
I checked the usual websites, but all simply said the road was closed due to ‘an incident’. The next day, however, I saw that he’d been arrested under the mental health act, a standard practice I’m sure, hopefully he’s getting the help he needs.
Often, I suppose, people don’t think anyone cares about them when in reality that’s far from the case. I thought to myself what on earth can have happened in such a short period of life to push a person to such a decision. How hard, how terrible must their existence have been to get to that point.
Obviously, I don’t know the back story – he may have been a serial time waster often bothering the police with his antics, he might have been overreacting to something nonsensical like Manchester United not winning the league, or, he may have had serious issues that lead him to the conclusion that death was a logical choice. No matter what led him to the edge I’m glad he did not go over it.