When calls began coming into the sheriff’s office in Orange County, Florida about a man sitting precariously on a ledge above the highway, police had no way of knowing whether someone was in danger or merely resting their bones.
Luckily for them, a good Samaritan got there before they did, because the unidentified man was in fact in great distress.
Cristina Settanni, an Orange County resident who works in healthcare, was driving by when she saw the man perched dangerously on the ledge. She told the Orange Country Sheriff’s Office that she initially drove past him but then something made her stop and get out of her car.
“But I thought, as I saw him in my rearview, I probably should stop, especially since nobody else did.”
Settanni says she approached the man to talk to him because she has been in his shoes.
“I stopped because I’ve been where he was. So I know what it’s like to stand on the ledge and think that’s your only option. He needed somebody to show that somebody cared enough to stop and enough to tell him he didn’t need to do that today.”
Settani says there was one scary moment.
“There was a moment he moved forward and I did kind of move towards him like ‘Nope. You go, I go.'”
In an effort to comfort the man Settani quoted a song from Linkin Park, one of her favorite bands, saying: “Who cares if one more light goes out in a sky of a billion stars? I do. One person cares.”
Settani says a change came over the man when he heard the lyric and he started to cry. The man’s reaction is all the more poignant considering Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington died of an apparent suicide in 2017.
The single “One More Light” that Settani quoted was written about a friend of the band who died of cancer. A video for the song was released as a memorial to Bennington in 2017 and the late singer’s widow established a mental health awareness non-profit called 320 Changes Direction to destigmatize mental illness.
To honor @ChesterBe Bday-I’m asking you to Change Direction. On March 20th,Post a pic holding up your hand 🤚, which symbolizes you know the 5 signs of emotional well-being. Write “I AM THE CHANGE” on your hand. Bcuz the change begins within ourselves https://t.co/bZ2yDAq3y1— Talinda Bennington-Friedman (@TalindaB) March 7, 2018
Settanni stayed with the man until police arrived on the scene and video from the officer’s bodycam captured footage of the two of them sitting together on the ledge.
The man was taken to a mental health center and, while there’s no telling what sort of impact Settanni’s act of kindness may have had, things could have ended much more tragically if she hadn’t decided to stop and share in another person’s pain when everyone else was driving by.
h/t: Far Out Magazine
If you or someone you know is contemplating self-harm the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24/7 with free, confidential support to help you through a crisis. Just call 1-800-273-8255.