36-year-old John Tumpane has been been a baseball umpire for more than half of his life – but this week’s game in particular was one that he would never forget.
Tumpane was walking back across the Roberto Clemente Bridge on the Allegheny River towards his hotel in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It was just a few hours before the Pirates versus Rays game on Wednesday, and the umpire had just picked up some lunch.
Alarmed, Tumpane went over to the woman and casually asked her what was going on, so as not to frighten her.
“I just wanted to get a better look of the city from this side,” she replied, according to the umpire’s memory.
“Oh no,” Tumpane said, hooking his arm around hers. “You don’t want to do that. It’s just as good over here. Let’s go grab some lunch and talk.”
When she tried to tell him that she was fine and she wanted to stay there, Tumpane knew something was wrong. The umpire then hooked both of his arms around her torso.
The woman began crying and struggling against Tumpane’s grip, saying that she “just wanted to end it”.
After asking some nearby pedestrians to call 911, Tumpane continued issuing words of comfort.
“I was thinking, ‘God, this has got to be a good ending, not a bad ending,’ and held on for dear life,” said Tumpane, who has no training in suicide prevention or crisis management, according to the LA Times. “She said, ‘You don’t care about me.’ I said, ‘I care.’ She said, ‘I just want to end it right now. I want to be in a better place.’ I said, ‘You’re going to be all right.’”
Several other pedestrians held onto the woman as police arrived. Finally, the woman was properly pulled back over the rail and treated by medical assistance.
Tumpane continued to comfort the woman until he needed to get to work at the Major League Baseball game.
“It’s also hard when you stand back behind home plate and look and you see the bridge in the distance, In between innings and whatnot, just thinking of how things could have maybe been,” Tumpane said after the game. “Glad it was this way.”
(WATCH the video below) – Photo, CC, David Trainer
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