The boys saw her dangling from a bridge and kept chanting to her, reminding her of the value of life until she pulled herself back.
When everyone else in her life failed her, a group of young boys from middle school was the ones who filled her with hope. And thankfully, they were able to do it at just the right time. The middle-schoolers from Kepler Neighborhood School in Fresno, California, were just warming up before their volleyball practice began when the woman caught their attention, according to Today.
The young boys found the woman dangling in the air, holding on with her arms at a height of more than 100 feet. They did what anyone in this situation would do, get help. But the boys hardly realized then just how much more they would be doing than go get an adult.
13-year-old Joshua Velasquez said, “I realize what was going on when her foot started dangling. Then after that, we all ran down as a team to go tell our coach.” The 7th and 8th graders ran to their coach, Elliott Murray. He remembers the boys saying, “A lady is trying to jump off the bridge,” as reported by NBC.
“I said immediately, ‘Go back up and get her attention. Tell her her life matters,’” coach Murray said. While the coach called 911, the boys ran towards the 47-year-old woman, hoping they could distract her as the coach told them to do. “So for a whole 10 minutes or so, they did not stop yelling, screaming, telling her, ‘Your life matters.’”
12-year-old Branden Ezell said, “We're walking up and she waves at us so we wave back and by the time we looked away and then look back, she's already hanging off — like full-on hanging off, just one arm holding her up.”
That's when 13-year-old Elijah Gomez started chanting. “Elijah said, like, ‘Your life is worth it, no matter how much things are happening in life, you always gotta think about the positive, you gotta count your blessings,” said Joshua.
For the next 10 minutes, the boys didn't stop screaming and shouting words of encouragement and hope towards the woman who was so close to letting go and ending her life. They urged and begged her to get herself back on the bridge. Soon, the police arrived. But as the boys continued chanting, the woman pulled herself back onto the bridge.
The young heroes who shouted a woman's worth helped save a woman's life. “I don't think I'll ever forget that moment,” said Elijah. “And then what was best about it is, I know we saved the woman's life but I'm proud that I was able to do it with my brothers.”
The proud coach was glad that the boys were able to fill her with the motivation she needed. The woman might have felt like there was nobody she could lean on. But out of nowhere, these young boys who were strangers to her, made her feel like she's not alone. “That lady was probably a mother and she's seeing all those kids tell her that your life matters, do not do this and chanting and screaming," the coach said. "That that gave her enough to change her motivation of wanting to kill herself."
“These young men stepped up when no one else could,” said Timothy Yeager, Kepler School’s Director of Student Services. “Words fail to do justice how incredibly proud we are of these Kepler scholars and Coach Elliot’s leadership.”
“Their words of encouragement caused this woman to realize her life had value,” said Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer in a statement. “Thank God they were in the right place at the right time.”
Lt. Mark Hudson of the Fresno Police Department said, "We contacted her, found out she was actually trying to commit suicide and the officer placed her on a mental health evaluation hold for 72 hours to be evaluated by mental health workers," according to ABC30.
There could have been a number of reasons that pushed the woman to think that she had no other choice left. But the young boys reminded her that her life matters. And it gave her a second chance at life.