beer delivery suicidal man

Beer has saved at least one life in Minnesota.

Beer delivery men Kwame Anderson and Jason Gaebel were out on the job early Wednesday morning when they noticed a man standing on the outer railings of a bridge crossing over Interstate 94 in St. Paul. As soon as they registered what was happening, they stopped their truck.

“Hey, what are you doing?” Anderson said he’d asked the man. “If you’re thinking of jumping, you don’t have to jump.”

Despondent, the man responded, “You don’t know me, you don’t care. Why are you trying to save me?”

But Anderson was undeterred. “If I didn’t care I wouldn’t be here right now,” he said. After that, he did the only thing he could think of to talk the man off the ledge: he offered him a beer.

He asked the man for his name and learned he was originally from Chicago.

“He said, ‘Chicago’s tough,’ ” Anderson said. “I said, ‘I grew up on the East Side of St. Paul, in the hood just like you.’ ”

The conversation continued and Anderson asked what he needed: Was he hungry? Did he need money?

The man said no to both.

Then, Anderson asked, “If you come down from there, do you want to get a drink with me and talk about what’s going on?”

Anderson ran to the truck, grabbed a case of beer, opened it and told him, “I have a pack of Coors Light for you. Follow me.’ ”

The man inched across the bridge to safety. He didn’t get a drink because paramedics took him to Regions Hospital for evaluation.

After the man was taken to safety, Anderson uploaded a brief video about the encounter to Facebook. “He didn’t commit suicide,” he said. “It’s a good day.”

Gaebel later told the Twin Cities Pioneer Press that he believes a higher power was at work, as he and Anderson had deviated from their usual route that day. “God has everything to do with this,” he said.

It certainly does seem that God placed the right people in the right place to deal with a life-threatening situation. How many people would stop if they saw a man on the verge of ending his life? How many people would interrupt their busy work day to help a complete stranger in crisis? It just goes to show how powerful the kindness and empathy of a stranger really can be.

As for Anderson, he’s not done helping the man he saved. He moonlights as a stand-up comic, and he told the man to come out to one of his shows if he ever needs a laugh. “If he comes, I’ll make sure he has a beer and has a good night.”

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