'Whatever you do, don't walk on' - Taxi driver's plea after saving man from jumping from bridge
A taxi driver who stopped a young man jumping from a bridge over the weekend says the public needs to reach out to those in distress.
Derek Devoy was on his way to Croke Park on Sunday ahead of the All-Ireland hurling final to help fundraise for a suicide crisis centre in Kilkenny when he spotted a young man sitting on a bridge.
“We were coming across [a bridge in] Kilkenny and spotted a young lad sitting on the ground… and I knew straight away that something wasn’t right,” he told The Ryan Tubridy Show.
“His exact words to me were ‘I don’t want to do this anymore’ and then the tears started.
“I went back and put my arm around him and he was in a terrible way – he needed help really badly.
“It was one of the worst I’d seen and I kept talking to him. I asked him to come into my car in case something happened and he agreed.”
The taxi man then spoke to the man until the guards arrived.
It is understood young man was taken to a local Garda station where he was assessed by a doctor.
“I didn’t realise that the Gardaí had already been called and, fair play to them, they were there very quick,” Mr Devoy added.
Speaking on RTÉ Radio 1, the taxi man, who founded Taxi Watch Kilkenny – a group of drivers who patrol areas known for attracting suicides, said the best thing people could do to help someone in distress was to speak to them face to face.
“A lot of people are afraid to approach someone in that situation – that it will be their fault if the person jumps but thankfully for us it hasn’t worked that way.
“When you speak to someone, the reaction is imminent - you see it, speak face to face when they’re standing there and its instance relief on their face.”
Mr Devoy says that since Taxi Watch was established in Kilkenny last November, 50 people have been helped on local roads and bridges by taxi drivers.
The charity is currently working with the Thomas Hayes Fund to establish a suicide crisis centre in the county.
The public can donate here.