Friday 18 August 2017

Dublin mum who coaxed stranger off bridge horrified that passing motorists did not stop

(Stock image)
(Stock image)
Laura Larkin

Laura Larkin

A woman who successfully coaxed a stranger off a bridge in Dublin over the weekend has said it "shocked her to her core" that passing motorists did not stop to help.

Good Samaritan Lisa Bracken was travelling in Dublin's north side when she noticed a man looking down over the traffic and pulled in to speak to him.

She told her story to Joe Duffy on RTÉ Radio One's Liveline this afternoon.

She had recently been told by her daughter that it could be helpful to engage someone in a crisis situation to talk about something other than the situation at hand.

"All I wanted to do was ask him was he OK... I rolled down the window and asked the man did he know where I could get some baby milk.

"I had heard it said that when someone is suicidal to try to engage with them in a conversation that might make them stop and think in a different line of thinking," she told

"I just knew in my gut there was something really, really wrong with this man.

"He looked at me and all he said was Centra and pointed his finger."

Lisa contacted gardai and got out of the car to speak to the man.

"I tried to engage with him, I said look whatever is wrong can be sorted out. This is not the answer.

"I knew by his face, there was an emptiness in his eyes, I'll never forget the man's eyes... I said to him can I just hold you hand?"

Lisa managed to link arms with the man and she said it should have been obvious to anyone passing on the busy road what was happening.

"Nobody stopped... I couldn't believe it, not a sinner stopped," she said.

"It's not like he could possibly be hidden... they could see what I could see. There was no other reason why the man would be there.

"I kept talking to him about this imaginary baby looking for the milk.

"I asked him what was wrong with him, I pleaded with him to come back around. There was nothing, there was absolutely no emotion," she said.

"I said to him 'my son is only 14, he is in the car there and if you drop he is going to always grow up thinking that that's the answer to a problem'," she said.

"I said I'm pleading with you to come around... I think, if anything, just let me give you a hug that's all.

"He burst into tears and came back across to the good side of the bridge," she added.

The pair then sat in the back of Lisa's car and gardai, who had arrived, took over after she had continued chatting with him in her car to a point where she felt it was OK for the gardai to take over.

The mum praised gardai for the sensitive manner in which they dealt with the man.

"They dealt with him in such a sensitive manner, they were superb," he said.

The man was assessed in a local garda station and hospitalised.

"Sometimes I lose faith in humanity, I really do In a situation like that... is everyone in that much of a hurry in life that someone is standing like that on abridge, looking over a bridge [and don' stop]?," she said.

"It's not that it could have been misconstrued... it was clear and very, very apparent that I was holding a man onto a bridge by his arm," she said later.

"The amount of cars that went by, it shocked me to my core that no one stopped," she said.

The RTÉ broadcaster praised Lisa for her handling of the situation and the wealth of knowledge she seemed to have about handling such situations despite having no training.

However, she was quick to point out that it was the man who saved himself.

"I didn't save his life Joe. He had the courage to step back in. He was strong enough to step back... and that takes tremendous courage," she said.

If you are affected by any of the issues raised in this article, you can call the Samaritans Helpline on 116-123

Online Editors

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News