A FedEx driver is being hailed as a hero after reportedly saving a suicidal woman from her death by grabbing her hand as she threw herself off a bridge.
Garrett Nicholson, 42, said he first spotted the woman as he drove across a bridge in Rogersville, Tennessee, after seeing an abandoned car in the middle of the road September 25. The woman, who has remained nameless, was sitting on the edge of the bridge, peering down into Caney Creek’s waters, some 40 feet below.
Concerned for her welfare, Nicholson leaped into action, climbing out his truck and slowly making his way toward the embattled woman. “I got within arm’s reach, because she wasn’t listening or anything,” the delivery driver explained to the Kingsport Times-News. “She seemed pretty out of it.”
As Nicholson continued to attempt to “talk her down” from the ledge, the woman “lurched forward (to jump).” At that point, instinct took over, and Nicholson leapt to save her life. I “was able to grab her by the arm,” the man noted, adding that he held her there until police arrived.
“I was scared that I wouldn’t be able to hold her,” Nicholson added, before explaining that he was praying to the Lord for strength to keep the woman aloft.
“Fortunately, where I work at FedEx, I load boxes all day, and you kind of get used to holding on to heavy things. I was just really scared that she was going to fall, and it was kind of one of those things that you just keep praying to God for strength to keep holding her until someone arrived to help me,” he said.
Nicholson held the 54-year-old woman above the waters for five minutes. That time, he said, felt like “two hours.” As he prayed for help to arrive, the delivery driver began to think about what would happen if he could not hold on any longer. “It’s about a 35-40 foot drop,” he said. “My biggest concern is the water level was down. If she would have jumped, she’d have probably hit ground. She’d have landed in water and hit the rocks too because there wasn’t enough water to break her fall.”
He added: “She made comments like, ‘He’s never going to hurt me again,’ and some of it was nonsensical and more rambling. She’s got a bad home life is what it sounded like to me, and at the moment she felt suicide was the better option.”
Then, finally, a police officer arrived and helped Nicholson haul the suicidal woman back over the ledge. “Fortunately, the deputy showed up in enough time, and between him and I, we were able to lift her up and back over the side,” he said. “He got her in handcuffs and got her somewhere she can get some help.”
In the wake of this traumatic experience, Nicholson said he had committed much of his time to praying for the fragile woman. “There’s no problem in this life that is worth suicide,” he said. “Problems are temporary. That’s permanent and nothing is that bad. I don’t know what darkness she was going through that made jumping the better alternative. I just hope it gets better for her. I hope she gets help.”
His take-away from the experience? “Don’t take life for granted. Be more appreciative of what you’ve got.”
“I wanted to take a moment to thank everyone for their kind words,” Garrett wrote on Facebook after he received many messages of thanks and admiration from social media users. “Ultimately, all that matters is that the lady will get the help she needs. Please, just keep her in your thoughts and prayers.”
“Sounds like God sent a angel to take care of her,” one woman noted. “Prayers for her.”
But in a bizarre twist to the story, just days after engaging in such heroics, Nicholson’s house was burned down in a freak fire. Fortunately, the delivery driver and his family were out of the house when the inferno occurred, but they lost everything. To make matters worse, the family were in the process of moving house when the blaze broke out.
Nicholson’s wife, Patrice, told the Kingsport Times-News: “I had moved some of our clothes, some picture, some odds and ends myself in our truck, and I hadn’t been here (at the new house) 10 minutes when my mom called. She said the neighbor called the landlord, and the landlord called my mom to tell us that our house was on fire.”
The fire department told the Nicholson’s that they believe the fire ignited when an outlet that was feeding the air conditioning unit with electricity short-circuited. The family lost absolutely everything.
“What wasn’t burnt or melted from the heat is smoke damaged,” Patrice explained, noting that there was “nothing salvageable” among their charred possessions.
As the family remains holed up in a motel with the assistance of the American Red Cross, Patrice and Garrett reflected on what could have been. What if the family were all asleep at the time? What if their 6-year-old daughter was in the house at the time? These were the types of questions whirring around the family’s heads in the nights following the fire.
But despite the devastation, there were little glimpses of hope and blessing. Indeed, Patrice noted that the family’s new puppy has been suffering from “separation anxiety.” So, she would regularly have left their other dog at the house to keep it company. But on the day of the fire, Patrice took both canines with her.
Patrice noted that anyone who has furniture or other items they’d like to donate to them at this difficult time can call her at (423) 358-8396. Please pray for the family as they battle to get their lives back on track!