The Officer Talked Him Out Of Jumping For 92 Minutes. Eight Years Later, The Two Reunited
February 10, 2017
In 2005, Kevin Berthia had an infant daughter who had been born premature, and the medical costs for her care climbed to nearly $250,000. He couldn't see a way out of debt.
Berthia fell into a deep depression and went to the Golden Gate Bridge.
California Highway Patrol Officer Kevin Briggs was there that day, too.
"I was overwhelmed with everything," Berthia explained. "It's like everything that I ever was bothered by, everything that I was ever dealing with came up on one day. And I just felt like a failure. All I gotta do is lean back and everything is done. I'm free of all this pain."
Sergeant Kevin Briggs, also known as the Guardian of the Golden Gate Bridge, has stopped upwards of two hundred people from jumping off of the Golden Gate Bridge. According to Briggs in 2003, a typical conversation starts by asking how are they doing, followed by asking them what their plan is for the following day. If they do not have a plan, he would attempt to make them one, inviting them to come back to the bridge if the plan does not work out at the end of the day.
"We talked for 92 minutes about everything that I was dealing with. My daughter, her first birthday was the next month. And you made me see that if nothing else, I need to live for her," Berthia said in an interview with StoryCorps.
"He tried to show me the important things in my life, focusing on my daughter. Hope came back. I put my arms up, and he and another officer helped me up and back over the railings."
Briggs took Berthia to a hospital, and the two didn't see each other again for years.
Eight years later, Berthia, now married with two children, presented Briggs with an award at the American Foundation for Suicide.
"I didn't know what I was going to feel, or how I was going to react," Berthia said. "But when I first saw him, he walked up me and I just shook his hand. It felt like I had known this man my whole life. The nerves weren't there. It was just two old friends being reunited."
"Now that I have his number, I don't see us never not being friends,' he told Yahoo. "We are of such a different age but it never feels like that. I've shared things with Officer Briggs in those 60 minutes that no one else in the world knows. It's a special bond there."
This is about as good as humanity gets right here.
It always gets better. Just keep pressing forward.
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