He was just about to jump when you spotted him. You were supposed to be an innocent passerby on your way home after a long day at work. But now, you’ve been drawn in.
The bridge is nearly deserted because rush hour is over. He had climbed on top of the railings when you saw him and stopped. He was heavier than you but you were able to pull him off the bridge. All you expected was that he would cry a little and you would drive him home preventing him from making the disastrous mistake of taking his life that night. But that was before he told you his story. There seemed to be no way out. His was a hopeless situation. He had murdered his son in cold blood. He had always been addicted to drink, he said. He never knew it would lead to the death of his son.
His drinking problem had started over twelve years ago. His wife had left him three years earlier but he had fought for his son and won custody. He had filled his wife’s absence with a succession of girlfriends and life seemed to be going tolerably well. However his drinking habits began to worsen. His business was beginning to flounder. He borrowed money heavily and started losing clients. Then he started having longer periods of blackouts and amnesia. Sometimes for hours, he would not remember how he was. On numerous occasions, he forgot to pick his son up from school. Creditors started calling him incessantly.
The night before, he had come home more drunk than usual. The nany that he had hired to watch over his son had gone home hours earlier and his ten year old son was in the living room waiting for him.
“Dad, you promised me you wouldn’t drink anymore,” he had said his voice revealing his hurt. He had muttered swear words at the boy and tried to find his way to his room.
But Adeolu his son would not let him be. “Dad, if you continue drinking, I’m going to run away. I’m going to stay with mum,” he had said hands on his hips, his eyes flashing.
That had enraged him. “What did you say?” he had said. And in his rage, he shook the boy.
But Adeolu fought back. “I’m not afraid of you anymore dad,” he said hitting him with his puny fists.
That had enraged him further and amidst curse words he began to strangle him till he realized the boy was dead. Then he blacked out. When he came to, he knew what hw had to do. He had killed his son. He had lost his wife. He would have to declare bankruptcy. There was only one way out.
You listened to his story and could barely hide the mixture of sadness and anger you felt when you heard the story about his dead son. It was clear to you however that suicide was not the way out. He had to give himself up, face the full wrath of the law and get his life together. You tried to explain the gospel of salvation to him. But he did not agree with you. He would rather die than give himself up, he reasoned. When you tried to drag him away, he pulled out a knife.
“If you try to stop me, I’ll kill you first. I told you I’m going to kill myself and no one is going to stop me.” He went towards the bridge again.
Now, this was dangerous. You were only trying to be the Good Samaritan. You backed off, wondering what to do. If you left him alone, he would kill himself. If you tried to stop him, he had threatened to kill you. There was no 911. By the time you ran to get help, he would have killed himself? What do you do? His life and maybe yours hangs in the balance.