THE ANGEL OF THE
NANJING RIVER BRIDGE
The Nanjing River Bridge is an architectural marvel that lies over a portion of the Yangtze River. The massive bridge holds a 22,000-foot railway track, a number of piers, a viewing tower, and a 4-lane highway.
Despite its structural beauty, this bridge stood as a landmark of tragedy. Between its completion in 1968 and 2006, approximately 2000 people took their own lives on this bridge. In 2008, Chen Li, a vegetable vendor that walked along the bridge every day, caught sight of a man about to take the plunge. He intervened and pulled the man away from the ledge.
At that moment, he decided to devote his life to saving others. He has since spent his weekends patrolling the bridge for people with signs of depression. Chen Li notes the way they walk, their shoulders slumped, and the heaviness in their steps. He spends his time talking to them and trying to give them hope.
He also hands out pamphlets on suicide prevention and awareness, hotline details, and even lists his own number as an emergency contact. His remarkable kindness has resulted in hundreds of lives being saved and has been documented in the award-winning documentary film, Angel of Nanjing.
For more than a decade now, Chen Li has watched over the residents of the city and done what he can to lift the spirits of sad souls he sees walking across the monumental bridge.
Clancy's comment: Well done, Mr Chen.