Sally was busy working inside her small bustling grocery store when she noticed the young adult male sitting under the bridge. She continued working. Customers came inside mentioning the man outside.
“Do you think he’s homeless?”
“I’ve never seen him around here before.”
“This can’t be good for business.”
As the small group of women continued to chat Sally worked.
“Ah, oh my!”
“Look! He’s about to jump!”
Sally ran from around the counter and ran out the front door. More customers came up to the front window to watch the commotion.
“Should we help her?”
“Are you crazy? He could be a drug addict, thief or terrorist.”
“He’s not. He’s a local. He’s a loner. He goes to church every Sunday, he’s just poor.”
Sally ran up to the base of the bridge. She didn’t want to scare the man.
“Can I help you?”
“Because I care, I don’t want to see you get hurt.”
“I’m not. I’m going to die.”
“Why do you care?”
“Because I just do, I know you have had a rough life.”
“You didn’t want to help years ago when my mother was looking for a job. You didn’t care a month ago when my brother was shot outside your store.” The man on the bridge was angry and crying. “You didn’t care when I was looking for a job.”
“I’m sorry. I want to help you.”
“You only want to help me because the people in the store are watching. If I die you won’t care. If I live you are the hero. I lose in both situations.”
“Let me help you. You’re right. I’ve been greedy in the past. I should have given your mom a job. I should have unlocked the door the night your brother was chased by the gunned man. Now, I can help you.”
“For years, day and night I have suffered. You think by stopping me from jumping you are going to help me?”
“No, I can’t make you want to live. I just want to offer you my hand. In good faith, I promise to now be here for you. Death will always be there for you. For once in your life I would like to offer you hope. You can sleep in my guest quarters. You can work for me. I will not be able to give your family back but I can share mine.”
Sally walked up to the man. She put her arm around him. He was shaking and crying. “Why did you wait so long to help me or my family?”
“I’m not sure. Maybe I needed an audience to wake me from my vanity. I promise now I will always be here for you.”