If it had not been for the quick thinking of this Uber driver, a simple Monday night drive could have ended in tragedy.
41-year-old Chris Farley was called to pick up a young male passenger from his house in Gulfport, Florida around 8PM. While they were driving, the passenger told Farley that he had recently been diagnosed with brain cancer.
“I told him about my mother passing from cancer and we continued to talked about the disease for a few minutes,” says Farley. “I asked him if he was in school and he told me all about what he wanted to be.”
Then, Farley noticed something strange about the passenger’s destination.
“I noticed that the destination for this passenger was dead smack at the center of the Skyway Bridge…”
The Sunshine Skyway Bridge is a notorious spot for people committing suicide in Tampa Bay, as the bridge is over 200 feet high.
“So I asked him where he was going. He gave me the weirdest story that was not even close to being believable. He said that the ambulance wouldn’t take him all the way to Tampa and that his doctor told him to get to the top of the Skyway Bridge, pull over where the phones are and call [Florida Highway Patrol] and they would send an ambulance for him to bring him to his doctor.”
Suspicious of his passenger’s motives, Farley asked the man to repeat his story to the bridge’s toll booth attendant and her supervisor.
“I made eye signals to her that something was up with my passenger. She said an ambulance can’t pick him up from the bridge, but he could make a call from the rest area to have the FHP come get him.
“I took him to the Skyway rest area and talked with him and he assured me that he wasn’t going to jump. I could tell he was lying.”
Farley then prayed with the passenger and asked if he could take a picture with him so he could remember his face for prayer later. In reality, the driver only wanted a picture of the man so he could send it to law enforcement officials.
Once the man got out of his car, he dialed 911, explained the situation, and emailed them the photo of the passenger.
Police then arrived on the scene and found the man near a pier on the water. While the man tried to evade police by swimming into the water and drowning himself, they were able to pull him out, conduct CPR, and take him to the hospital for treatment.
Farley reportedly plans on visiting him in the hospital later this week.
“God put that man in my car tonight for a reason,” says Farley. “I’m just glad he is still alive.”
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Reprint (Photo by Jeff Krause Photography, CC)