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I just celebrated my 59th birthday on Wednesday, so I've been around for a while. Today, I experienced something that I have never, ever experienced and I'm still somewhat in a daze about it.

The guy that I work with everyday has a motorcycle and he and I and my wife go riding quite a lot. So today, it was suppose to get to the upper 60's here in the Knoxville area and we planned a ride on a very familiar road that we both have been on many times. Once you do a route over and over, you become predictable on where to stop for gas, breaks, etc and at the start, this day was no different than any other ride down this fabulously twisty road. We left my house and I had planned on getting fuel at the "usual" place, but changed my mind at the last minute and stopped somewhere else along the way. By stopping there, we bypassed our "normal" stopping place for fuel and went right on by it. Now Ed and I like to stop to take a smoke break occasionally (I know it's a bad habit) and since we usually smoke one at the gas stop that we passed up, I told him that we would stop at a place along the route that is made to pull over and is along a small river with a picnic table there (we rarely stop there...almost never). Well, today we are riding and come upon the "rest stop" area and as we pull in, there is a small SUV there, but we didn't see anyone around the vehicle. Once we got our helmets off, you could here the SUV's engine running, so we figured that the driver must have walked down to the river to take a leak or something. So, after about 10 minutes of standing around B.S.ing the driver still had not come back to the vehicle, and I walked over towards it (not too close to it) and looked and there was someone inside the vehicle with the seat reclined and laying back in what appeared to be "taking a nap". I still didn't think too much of it and the SUV was backed into the spot, so we couldn't see the back of it. Ed, said he needed to take a leak and started to walk down towards the river and when he took about 5 steps, he yelled out.....Oh my GOD.....Oh SHIT! Of course that caught my wife and my attention and Ed pointed to the back of the vehicle and the hatchback was slightly ajar and there was a hose running from the exhaust pipe to the inside of the vehicle! I immediately ran over to the drivers side and started banging on the driver side door. The guy inside was startled and opened his eyes and just looked at me. I started yelling at him...."Shut the car off, Shut the car off and get out! He just looked at me, as he was apparently either on his way out or had been drinking or ????? Finally, he shut the engine off and opened the door. By this time, another motorcycle was coming by on the road that we had pulled off of and my wife and Ed flagged him down and told him to call the police when he got to where he could get a cell signal......as there was nothing in this area in the way of cell service. He took off on his bike and we never saw him again. So now, here I am trying to talk this guy, that I totally don't know, out of his vehicle and I don't know if he is drunk, stoned, or just hazy from trying to kill himself in the car. By this time, my buddy Ed had drawn his weapon and had it in his hand in case the guy was going to go off or do something irrational.....we just didn't know what kind of reaction we would receive after interupting his attempt to kill himself. I started talking to him and he would just stare at me and no say a word. I kept asking him if he was OK and could he breathe OK. Honestly, I don't think he had been there long and we happened by pretty early into his attempt. So now I'm thinking, the police should be here shortly and they can take over with whatever they are going to do to get this fella some help. We talked and talked and talked and talked.....well over an hour, and probably closer to 1 1/2 hours......and the cops NEVER came. I tried to tell him that there was nothing in this world worth taking your life for and that there are people around that loved him and would be devastated. He told me a lot of his life story and and that he had previously attempted to take his life, in like 2002. He said where he was headed and in reality, I had no authority to stop him from leaving and with NO police there yet, I made him promise to me that he would go and get some help when he arrived at the town that his mom was in. I also gave him my cell number and told him that I wanted him to text me this evening when he got to where his mom was at. And with that, he got back in the car and drove away. I really didn't know what to do, and where we were there was absolutely NO cell service. After he drove off, we decided to turn around and head back the direction that we had just came (and the direction that he was heading). We were about ten to fifteen minutes behind him and when we got to a small town area (like 30 people population), we stopped and I went into a store and borrowed their phone and called 911 and told them the story. I told them that unless he turns off on one of the many roads between there and the next big town, he should be there in about 10 minutes or so. We left there and headed towards that town and sure enough, the county sheriff and local police had him pulled over and in the back of a police cruiser. We had given a description of the vehicle....color/model/brand and the license plate number. We pulled into where the police had him and I ask the officer to talk to me. I explained what had just happened and that he was very afraid of "going back" to a mental facility where he was treated badly.....(he told me this during our talk before he drove off). I ask the officer to please, please try to make sure that this young man was properly taken care of. The young man, when I was talking to him, seemed like such a nice young man and I felt so sorry for him that I was crying while I was talking to the police officer. It was so sad to see someone at such a low point in their life and trying to honestly kill themselves. I certainly don't know what all of his issues were/are, but it just hurt my gut to see someone in this kind of shape. I told him while we were talking (back where we first encountered him) that there was a reason that three total strangers stopped here today. I don't know the how/why/ of any of it, but there IS A REASON......and today, you've been given another chance to live. You have been given another chance to turn your life around.

I know this is a very long story, but I really needed to get it off my chest. I've just never had anything like this happen to me before and I am emotionally drained and saddened by this. I feel that I/we succeeded in saving him, but will it be for another day....a week....a year.....will he attempt to do it again.....will he turn his life around? I am just struggling with this right now and the best thing that could happen is that sometime in the future, I get a phone call from him and he has righted himself and gotten squared away with his life.

I will say a prayer for this young man tonight and if y'all feel inclined to do the same, I would appreciate that very much, as would his unknown to me....family! May God bless this young man and help him through this time of difficulty.
 

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You did a good thing there Vern....but I guess you know that after two suicide attempts...he will succeed sooner or later. We can't fix metal impairment issues. All they can do is prescribe drugs..and eventually they refuse to take the Meds. My youngest son committed suicide at 40 years old...so i'm pretty educated on the subject.
 

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Wow! You did what it has to be done at the time and that's what matters.
Now it's up to the guy to do the same. Hopefully he could get some help,
and looks that maybe he wanted it since the way he planned his attemp seams like
A cry for help ( that you answered) because if he was determined to finish his live
there are some better methods to do it.

Thanks for taking the time to care for your fellow brother.
Bike runs saves lives!
 

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Well played. I dealt with several suicide attempts in my career, and unfortunately a couple that were successful. I am really wondering what took the police so long to respond. Those are serious calls, that get priority. (normally)

Although each state has slightly differing laws, it's basically the same. He will be committed to a mental health facility for an evaluation. In our state, they finally took that away from the mental institution, and moved it to the regular hospital. There seemed to be less stigma for the patient that way.

Attempted suicides are right up there with domestic violence calls for being dangerous. People often will try to get the police to do the job for them. They could try the same with a civilian. I'm glad it worked out for you and your friend. I understand the feeling you have completely.
 

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You did a good thing there Vern....but I guess you know that after two suicide attempts...he will succeed sooner or later. We can't fix metal impairment issues. All they can do is prescribe drugs..and eventually they refuse to take the Meds. My youngest son committed suicide at 40 years old...so i'm pretty educated on the subject.
Thanks........I'm just feeling very helpless at this point. I did what I would hope anyone that has any compassion would do, but it's just so sad. I'm so sorry to hear about your son, I just simply cannot imagine either one of my kids passing before I do. You truly have my deepest sympathy CD.
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
Well played. I dealt with several suicide attempts in my career, and unfortunately a couple that were successful. I am really wondering what took the police so long to respond. Those are serious calls, that get priority. (normally)

Although each state has slightly differing laws, it's basically the same. He will be committed to a mental health facility for an evaluation. In our state, they finally took that away from the mental institution, and moved it to the regular hospital. There seemed to be less stigma for the patient that way.

Attempted suicides are right up there with domestic violence calls for being dangerous. People often will try to get the police to do the job for them. They could try the same with a civilian. I'm glad it worked out for you and your friend. I understand the feeling you have completely.
I honestly don't know why the police never did show up while we were there. Did the guy on the motorcycle just simply not take the time to make the call? I'll never know for sure. With it being such a rural area, were they just tied up and and finally got there sometime after we left? Again, I'll probably never know. I am just kind of overwhelmed with this.....I've never been around someone that I actually saw trying to do this. It's just something that does not register with me how anyone can possibly feel that helpless......again, it is so very sad.

As far as dangerous goes, at one point, I did walk back over to my bike and grab my pistol and put it in my front pocket of my riding pants. While we were talking, I asked him about where he thought that he might go for help and he reached into his pocket to get his wallet. Of course, I had thoughts of "what if he is reaching for a gun" and is finally going to do something here. I put my hand in my pocket and partially drew the .380 out of the holster, but left it in my pocket until I could assess what he was going to do. I had already made plans to dive to the ground in front of his car and out of his line of sight if a gun came out of his pocket. Naturally, I was very relieved when he pulled out his wallet and started digging through it looking for a business card of a mental health place that he apparently had been to before. Scary times and sad times.......all in one big lump.
 

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Good work Vern. Also, I would have tracked down the guy on the motorcycle and beat his ass, in front of his old lady, for being such a douchebag. I rode up on a guy on the trail that had hit a tree and broken his neck, and all I could do was helplessly witness him slip away. It will stay with me forever. I am glad that, at that moment in time, you could be of a service to a suffering human being that clearly needed the help of a compassionate selfless person.
 

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Thanks for sharing, Vern. Things like this have a way of burrowing into your psyche and replaying over and over. You guys certainly did the right thing, and as a believer in Karma, I'd surmise you were there for a reason. You may never know the reason.

I sincerely hope this young man finds the help he needs and navigates through the mess. Mental health is a serious subject that is often treated as a stigma. Hopefully the compassion of strangers is enough to show him a better way.

Doug - as far as your story...no words other than 'wow'. On that note...
 

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"Coincidence is God's way of remaining anonymous." - Albert Einstein

Not to get into a spiritual debate, but sometimes it makes you wonder.

Whether you guys being there ultimately helped the guy out or it helped you, your friend, and/or wife in some small way now or in the future....something good came out of you stopping and doing the right thing.

My hats off to ya!
 

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Good job, Vern. As mentioned, you may never know what impact you had on HIS life. But the impact he had on YOURS was substantial. Lets all pray that he gets the help he needs and that you folks had as much of an impact on him.
 

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My 15 year old nephew took his life quite coincidentally on his sister's 18th birthday. No one knew anything was going on. Michael was successful at sports, an A-B student, had a cute girlfriend and was, according to his classmates, one of the most popular kids in school. He never mentioned any problems/worries. If someone had noticed anything wrong and just talked to him like you did the man in the SUV, I feel he may have had a change of heart.
Good job! =)
 

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Ah,edgyver, therein lies the rub!
A great many of those disturbed in that way show NO symptoms that are detectable. Generally, someone who exhibits suicidal tendencies is suffering from lack of attention, and rarely do so, where those who quietly go about committing it are the ones whose death is so shocking.
That's what makes it so difficult to diagnose, the quiet ones....
Thank God for the thousands who graduate with Master's degrees in social work every year who go into either public service, treatment facilities or hospitals who help stem the tide of our rising suicidal population.
 

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Ah,edgyver, therein lies the rub!
A great many of those disturbed in that way show NO symptoms that are detectable. Generally, someone who exhibits suicidal tendencies is suffering from lack of attention, and rarely do so, where those who quietly go about committing it are the ones whose death is so shocking.
That's what makes it so difficult to diagnose, the quiet ones....
Thank God for the thousands who graduate with Master's degrees in social work every year who go into either public service, treatment facilities or hospitals who help stem the tide of our rising suicidal population.
Those people are generally underpaid as well =(
 

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You're a good Man Mate.
I try to live my life by the way that I was raised......to care about others and to be compassionate and helpful when I can. I don't think it's anything too special, it's just part of who and how we should be. Thank you though for the nice comments!


edgyver wrote:
My 15 year old nephew took his life quite coincidentally on his sister's 18th birthday. No one knew anything was going on. Michael was successful at sports, an A-B student, had a cute girlfriend and was, according to his classmates, one of the most popular kids in school. He never mentioned any problems/worries. If someone had noticed anything wrong and just talked to him like you did the man in the SUV, I feel he may have had a change of heart.
Good job! =)
I am so sorry for your loss. Things like that just NEVER make the least bit of sense and many times the parents just never get over the loss of a child.
 

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This person has a mental issue for sure I want to believe that he wants help other wise he would have done it in a more secluded area. Everyone involved has been affected I will pray for all of you. I now hope the young man realizes people do care no matter how rough the world seems.
 
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