A 62-year-old Brooklyn resident who was preparing to jump off a ledge on the Verrazano-Narrows bridge on Tuesday told police officers that "nobody could help him." Fortunately, the officers found a way to help -- and they did that by listening.
And, after more than an hour of talking, the man finally stepped back and officers were able to attach a harness and get him down to safety.
A maintenance crew had already started talking to the man when Bridge and Tunnel Officer Eric Suky arrived on the scene Tuesday morning, CBS New York reports.
"You just kind of had to try and empathize with his state of despair," Suky told the Staten Island Advance. "In my experience, it's just finding the common ground."
The NY Daily News credits the commanding officer of NYPD's Hostage Negotiation Team, Lt. Jack Cambria, for saving the man -- who is a musical instrument repairman. Cambria managed to forge a personal connection with him.
The man's deep financial trouble and lack of family had driven him to the bridge's edge.
“Well, we just became your family,” Cambria told him, according to the Daily News. “Look around you. We have at least 250 people here for you.”
"This is a permanent solution to a temporary problem," Cambria said, in what eventually was the pivotal moment that helped change the man's mind.
After surrendering to authorities, the man was taken to Lutheran Medical Center for a psychiatric evaluation.
“If he jumps, that’s it,” Cambria told the Daily News, “I just wanted to buy him 24 more hours.”