The name of the 16 year old boy, Jamie Harrington, will remain a legend in the online community and it is all due for the right reason. The young man, who was featured in Humans of Dublin, shared his heroic deed of saving the life of a man he does not know.
Wondering how he saved him despite of his young age? Well, Jamie managed to save a life by being observant and by asking a simple question.
“Are you okay?”
It is kind of hard to believe how these three words saved a life from the brink of death. But believe it or not, it did. Jamie happened to be an observant boy who knew how to ask the right questions to the person who needed it the most. The suicidal man he saved is now an expectant father!
Jamie was just on his way to run an errand, when he spotted a man who is in his 30s sitting on the ledge of the bridge. The young man sensed that there was something wrong about the man. And although he was warned by his parents not to talk to strangers, Jamie approached the man he did not know out of genuine concern.
The 16 year old boy approached the man and asked him if he was okay, to which the man did not say anything.
“I just knew from the look in his eyes he wasn’t [okay]… I saw tears coming from his eyes.”
Jamie pleaded with him to step down from the ledge of the bridge, eventually, the man listened to his plea. The two of them sat on the sidewalk and had a heart-to-heart talk for about 45 minutes. The 30-ish year old man shared the struggles he’s facing, what was happening to him, and why was he feeling that way.
Learning that the man is facing a grave situation, Jamie knew he couldn’t just leave him alone. However, Jamie needed to go. The 16 year old boy convinced the man to let him ring an ambulance.
At first the man asked him not to call them, explaining that he only needed to to stroll around and he would be okay. But Jamie knew better that it is dangerous to leave the man alone with his own thoughts. So he insisted to call the ambulance, stating how they could help the man feel better.
Eventually, Jamie managed to convince the man to get the help he needed, but before parting ways, Jamie made sure to exchange numbers in order to check on him.
Who would have thought that three months after their first meeting, the 30-ish year old man told him that he is going to be a father and they will name their son after the teenager who saved his life!
“He texted me that his wife is pregnant, they’re having a boy, and they’re naming him after me. Can you believe that? They’re going to name their child after me!”
According to the man, he was just about to jump off of the bridge when Jamie approached him and asked the simple question. The genuine concern showed by Jamie to the man remained intact in his memory, in fact it continues to ring in his head every single day.
Jamie couldn’t wrap his mind around what just happened. He couldn’t understand how the simple words he uttered saved the life of a stranger.
‘Are you okay? I can’t really understand how these few words could save his life, but he told me, “Imagine if nobody ever asked you those words…” ’
Mental health issues such as depression is one of the serious problems we face today. With the death of celebrities, and names of seemingly powerful people, society is finally being aware of the true dangers of depression and other mental health issues.
How would we know if people around us are genuinely doing okay? Be reminded how depression and mental health issues are invisible illnesses. We could never truly know unless we reached out to the people around us and ask.
Imagine what could have happened if Jamie did not take time to look around his surrounding? If on that fateful day, Jamie did not ask the man if he was okay, a son would never get to know nor meet his father.
So next time, spare a few seconds of your time. Lift your eyes from your smartphones and look around you. Pay attention to the people around you and observe their body language and listen to what they are not saying out loud. Do they look okay? And if you sensed that there is something wrong, do not hesitate to ask.
Are you okay? These three simple words when compassionately spoken in a form of a question — they have the power to make someone feel better and even save a life.
[If you are having thoughts of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (TALK) or go to SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for a list of additional resources. Here’s what you can do when a loved one is severely depressed.]