Dublin teenager, Jamie Harrington, has become an internet sensation after a chance encounter saw the 17-year old save a stranger’s life.
A few months ago, we showed you some of the best posts from the Facebook page Humans of Dublin, which showcases the lives and stories of Dublin’s people. Some time ago, 17-year-old Jamie featured on the page telling of the day he stopped to speak to an older man standing on the ledge of a bridge over the River Liffey in Dublin.
"I was just on my way to the American sweet shop to buy some Gatorade, when I saw this guy in his 30s sitting on the ledge of the bridge,” Jamie said.
“I just thought, ‘wow...’ I stopped and asked him if he was okay, but I knew from the look in his eyes he wasn't, and he didn't say anything either, but I saw tears coming from his eyes.”
In an amazing act of human kindness, Jamie succeeded in talking the man into coming off the ledge and continued to chat with him for 45 minutes before calling an ambulance.
“I pleaded with him for a while to come down and sit on the steps, and eventually he did. We sat on the sidewalk on the south side of the Liffey and talked for about 45 minutes, about what was happening to him, why was he feeling that way,” he continued.
“I couldn't leave him there alone, but I had to go, so I was going to ring an ambulance. I told him they could help him feel better. But he was like ‘please, please don't call them, I'm fine, I just want to walk around for a while, I'm gonna be okay!’ I told him to please let me ring an ambulance, that I wouldn't sleep knowing he was just walking around alone. So I rang it, and he was taken to St. James Hospital.”
The Ballymun teenager continued to keep a level head and went above and beyond in his desire to make sure that the man was safe, taking his number so he could check in on him in the future. Wanting to say thank you to Jamie for his help, the teen recently received a text from the stranger to tell him he was about to be remembered in a very special way.
A photograph of Jamie Harrington, from Dublin, has gone viral since it was posted to the Humans of Dublin... http://t.co/Vd1rjOZpcu— Police Alerts UK (@PoliceAlertsUk) August 4, 2015
“About three months ago, he texted me that his wife is pregnant, they're having a boy, and they're naming him after me,” Jamie said.
“Can you believe that? They're going to name their child after me.”
The story quickly went viral as hundreds commended the young man’s actions and the patience and kindness he showed to a stranger in this heart-warming tale.
Most importantly, many felt that Jamie’s story reinforces the little things we can do to make sure our fellow human beings are doing alright.
“He said in that moment that I approached him, he was just about to jump, and those few words saved his life. That they're still ringing in his head every day. ‘Are you okay?’”
“I can't really understand how these few words could save his life, but he told me, ‘Imagine if nobody ever asked you those words....’"
Humans of Dublin is a photography project curated by 27-year old Budapest student Peter Varga. Varga moved to Dublin seven years ago, attended a photography course in Institute of Photography – Ireland, and started the project inspired by its US counterpart, Humans of New York.
*Originally published August 2015.