College Freshman Stops a Woman’s Suicide Leap
Lifestyle| | By Lauren Boudreau
University of Minnesota student Thomas Stolee was out for a regular jog on Easter Sunday when he spotted something that didn’t look right.
A woman was standing at the guardrail of a popular bridge used to connect the the West and East campuses. Sensing something was wrong, Stolee stopped to talk to her.
“I stopped and tried to talk to her. I said, ‘Can I help you?’ And she said, ‘Get away from me,’ ” Stolee told TwinCities.com.
Soon, the woman straddled the railing, but Stolee continued to try and engage her in conversation. He said that several other people also passed by, but didn’t offer help or recognize what was happening.
After about 20-25 minutes, he managed to get the attention of some bicyclists by mouthing the word “help,” TwinCities.com reports. They were able to call campus security. In the meantime, however, the 24-year-old woman got closer to the edge. That’s when Stolee knew he had to make his move.
“It was go-time,” Stolee said. “So I lunged, grabbed her and pulled her back.”
19-year-old, 6-foot-2 Stolee was able to easily pull the woman back to safety, who, he said, didn’t struggle at all and broke down crying after.
Campus police were then able to get the woman help.
It turns out that Stolee actually works on campus as a security monitor. However, he wasn’t on duty at the time of the incident.
Justin Yarrington, the manager of the security program, said, “The fact that he stopped when he saw someone in trouble says a lot about his character. It shows that he cares about helping others and doing the right thing.”
Stolee called his father after the ordeal who is a police officer in Duluth.
“When he called me, I could certainly detect the stress in his voice. There are physiological reactions that go along with something like that,” Sgt. Stolee told TwinCities. “Your heart rate and blood pressure and everything are all going to be up, and you just need to breathe deeply and almost use meditation tactics to bring yourself back down.”
Stolee’s mother said her son’s actions and the outcome was an “Easter miracle.”