He was about to jump off a bridge
Sports has the magical power of bringing people together regardless of their age, socioeconomic status, religion or ethnicity. It’s a common language that gives people who may not have much in common something to bond over. In the video above, a police officer was able to use the power of sports to strike up a conversation with a suicidal man and save his life.
On Saturday, September 10th at around three o’clock in the morning, body camera footage captured Columbia, South Carolina police officer Michael Blackmore attempting to talk a suicidal down from a guardrail. Blackmore, along with two other officers and two EMS workers, responded to a call of a man crying with his feet dangling over a guardrail above South Carolina Highway 277. Although the video doesn’t explain why he was about to end it all, the man can be heard saying: “I’m tired of living.” But officer Blackmore wouldn’t let him go that easy.
Blackmore eased the man into a bit of small talk and learned he was a fan of the South Carolina Gamecocks and Washington Redskins. This gave Blackmore a chance to tap into to the sense of hope that all diehard sports fans share. “You’re just having a bad night tonight,” Blackmore told the man. “But tomorrow night, when you’re sitting around and you’re watching the Gamecocks—or on Sunday when you’re watching the Redskins play or whatever—you’ll look back, ‘Man, what was I thinking Friday night?’ You’re just having a bad night.” After the two started talking sports, the man on the bridge relaxed and eventually let Blackmore and his fellow officers bring him down from the guardrail.
After the incident, the man was taken in an ambulance to Palmetto Health Richland hospital. Later, Blackmore told reporters he used a similar technique with a man who was ready to jump off a parking garage. “It was pretty much the same exact thing,” Blackmore told The State. “I ended up talking to the guy about football. He told me he was a Notre Dame fan.”