When This MLB Umpire Went For A Jog, He Didn’t Expect He’d Save A Life

"I'll never forget you, you have my promise on that."

Trigger warning: This post discusses suicide.

Before the Pirates vs. Rays game in Pittsburgh on Wednesday, MLB umpire John Tumpane went out for a jog but managed to become a hero in the process. Tumpane, who has crossed the city's Roberto Clemente Bridge numerous times before, was running across it when he noticed a woman climb over the railing to the dangerous side of the bridge as a couple of onlookers stood puzzled.

That's when Tumpane took action. He approached the woman and asked, "Hey, what's going on?" to which Tumpane said the woman replied, "I just want to get a better look of the [city] from this side." Tumpane knew something wasn't right, though, and immediately began trying to coax the woman back over the railing to safety. The woman — whose name is being kept private — appeared distraught and suicidal. When that tactic didn't work, he hooked his arm in hers to keep her from jumping, and the conversation that took place next was heart-wrenching.

"No-no, I'm better off on this side. Just let me go!" The woman didn't want to be rescued, but that wouldn't deter Tumpane. "I'm not going to let you go," he told her, and still she refused to return to the safety of the bridge. "No one wants to help me, just let me go!" She pleaded and refuted Tumpane's efforts, so he did what any human being could do and ensured her that he was there to help her, refusing to unhook his arm from her. Even when she told him "You'll forget me tomorrow," he told her "I'll never forget you, you have my promise on that."

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette tweeted a photo of the moment the woman was taken into custody as Tumpane sees her off:



When talking her down from the proverbial ledge wasn't working, Tumpane calmly and covertly asked passersby to call 911. Suddenly, everyone on the bridge was jumping in to help subdue the woman, who at one point seemed to give up the fight altogether and became dead weight. Tumpane said they held her for 10 minutes until first responders arrived — police, paramedics, and even a helicopter. From there they all worked together to get this woman back on the bridge and in custody.

"It's [been] an interesting afternoon, but I'm glad she's alright and I'm glad it's a positive story and not a sad story," Tumpane told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. It was a positive ending to what could have been a tragic day. 

Watch the entire post-game locker room interview with hero umpire, John Tumpane here:

If you or a loved one are in a crisis, you can reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK to speak with a skilled, trained counselor who is ready to listen to you.

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