How a Teen Became a Hero.
On a cold November night, In Manchester, New Hampshire, a young teen was walking home around 9 pm from a basketball game. Desmond Powell, just 17 years old, was thinking about seeing his mom and how hungry he had gotten while watching the game. Thankfully they were getting dinner.
As he walked along the desolate wide strip of the road he had no idea what awaited him. Desmond, approaching a bridge could see the silhouette of a slender man perched with feet hanging over its ledge. It was odd but nothing alarming.
As Desmond quietly passed the lonely stranger, he could clearly hear the man mumbling to himself.
“At first I thought he was just hanging out. But as I got closer, I heard him muttering. Then I clearly heard ‘I’m just gonna jump.” Desmond told Readers Digest.
Roughly six feet away, Desmond could see the slim man in dark clothing and a baseball hat. He s was so you, the teen thought, maybe in his early 20’s.
A little concerned after hearing the man’s plans, Desmond decided to ask the man what he was doing. Wanting to intervene, maybe even find out what had the stranger so distraught.
“I’m gonna jump,” the stranger replied.
A tough situation, for anyone, this is how a teenager handled it.
Taken back by the man’s word, Desmond tried to think about how he could help. Worried about what may happen the young teen thought of ways he could engage the man, hopefully preventing his death.
“His voice had pain in it, but I could tell he didn’t really want to do this. He just felt there wasn’t any other way,” Desmond recalled.
The teen, with a heavy heart, tried to find the words the man needed to hear. Not knowing the stranger he decided to ask him questions instead. Desmond asked if the man has children.
The man, without looking at the teen, pulled up a photo of his young daughter on his phone. Desmond thought her to be about two years old. The stranger muttered about how hard it would be for her to lose her dad, being such a young girl. The man began crying, glancing at the frigid, rolling dark waters below.
“My heart was racing, but I stayed collected,” The young man told the reporter.
Granite Street Bridge, New Hampshire.
Young Powell, creeping his way towards the man, listened as the stranger continued. He confided in the teen about how he couldn’t provide for his daughter. He couldn’t find a way to get money, they were hungry, and he struggled with a heroin addiction.
Desmond could hear the desperation and loathing in the man’s voice. Speaking as a friend would, the teen explained how he cared if the stranger jumped. Desmond told the man that other’s would care too.
Not sure if his words were making an impact, young Powell decided he was close enough he could grab the man if he jumped. Extending his hand with his offer, Desmond didn’t expect the man to take it.
To Powell’s surprise, the gentleman turned to look at him and took his hand.
Once he was off the ledge, Desmond introduced himself. His calm demeanor and sincere voice had talked the man out of a very dark place. Hungry himself, the teen offered him dinner and conversation. To which the man agreed.
Young Powell could finally relax as the two walked away together, side by side, Straight to the nearest diner. Where the stranger unloaded burden for a while, telling Desmond everything in the dining area of Dunkin’ Donuts.
As reported by Reader’s Digest.
As they sat down to eat, someone who’d overheard the two about the stranger’s sad story suggested that the police be called. Afraid he might be arrested, the stranger bolted from the restaurant. “Come back!” Powell yelled. But he was gone before Powell could stop him.
Powell scoured the area, looking for the stranger. While searching a parking lot, he heard “Hey, Desmond.” It was the stranger. “I’m sorry, man. I panicked.” Then, after a pause: “Can you call the police so I can get help?”
The two waited together on the street until the police arrived. During that time, the stranger turned the tables on Powell. “He asked me about my life and goals,” says Powell.
Fifteen minutes later, Powell watched the police drive the stranger away. He never did get his name, nor does he know what became of him. Powell, who was honored by the city of Manchester for his caring response, will always remember the last words the stranger said to him. As he climbed into the patrol car, he turned to Powell. “Thank you,” he said. “You really are a hero to me.”