The Skyway Bridge - FL
The Suicide Rescue Report of May 24 - Florida
McGladeby Keith McGlade
My heart dropped within me when my mind finally processed what was happening. The situation was dire, and he was in desperate need of a rescue.
There were about a dozen of us from our little home-church in Bradenton traveling to an open-mic concert in a coffee shop outside of Tampa where we were to play a couple of songs for a crowd of about ten. We had never done anything quite like that before, and chances are we would never do anything quite like that again! Now, we look back and realize, God had us on a course which was heading us in one direction; however, He had a greater plan in mind - one which we could never have known!
Our group got split up, and two cars carrying six of us were just crossing the top of the Skyway Bridge on I-275 when we spotted him. His car was pulled off to the side at the peak of the arch, but he wasn't in it. Instead, he was sitting on the concrete guard-rail that runs along the side of the bridge - the one that stops cars from falling off the side! His legs were dangling over the outside edge and his arms were fully extended horizontally. His intention was clear: He was about to let his life fall from the highest bridge in Florida (193'), where many before him had successfully dropped to their death.
As we quickly pulled over and piled out of the car, adrenaline immediately filled my bloodstream. By the time I exited the vehicle, Josh Turk, the only other male person in our car, had already begun to run toward the man. I told the girls to stay, said a one second prayer and then instinctively bolted after my friend. (One of the girls, Jessie, used her cell phone to call the police, while the other two, Mara and Carrie, immediately began to pray.) Since there were about a hundred yards between us and him at the onset of our excursion, we were horrified when we saw him attempt to stand up on the four-inch wide guardrail. His first attempt to raise himself up, one leg at a time, resulted in a mighty gust of wind miraculously blowing him backwards - back onto the bridge. As we closed in on him, now about ten yards away, he began to climb up a second time. By this time, I was a few feet ahead of Josh and we had reduced our speed to a brisk walk so as not to startle him into jumping. (He still hadn't seen us.) We finally made it to him just as he was raising his second foot onto the ledge. I suppose there is no nicer way of accurately explaining this next part, but just to say that I then yanked him from the guardrail, thus slamming him to the ground underneath me. As we hit the pavement, Josh simultaneously jumped on top of us so that both of our bodies were lying flat on his.
As I looked down into his face, tears instantly began to pour out from his big brown eyes. We immediately began to tell him that Jesus had a destiny for him, and that it was not for him to throw it all away. "I know life hurts sometimes," I remember telling him, "but in time Jesus can heal you from whatever pain you are suffering." We tried to repeat every inspirational saying of Rusty Thomas that we could conjure up.
What disturbed my spirit more than anything was when he told us that cars just kept passing him by. He said that he didn't think anybody was going to stop - that nobody cared! (Even throughout our whole encounter with him - nobody seemed to even notice!) I remembered the parable of the good Samaritan, and how he was left hurting and torn by the side of the road. How many people passed by this downcast young man of twenty-one knowing that he was in desperate need of help. I-275 is a busy highway. I can't help being curious as to how many people with little fish on the back of their cars and bumper-stickers that say "God bless America" left this poor guy to die in his misery.
My testimony is simply this: Praise the Lord! This man's soul was saved from the jaws of Satan. Pray for him - his name is Marcel. We are hoping to get to know him better. We would like to do all that we can to help him get to know the awesome Lord, King Jesus - who saved Him from those sharp teeth of the enemy!
[ OSA NOTE:
What an incredible testimony of young people who have been trained up by godly parents to rescue those who are perishing. Tom and Linda McGlade have been faithful to impart to their children what it really means to be Christians who love their neighbor who is in the ditch. All of the McGlade children have, for years, selflessly stood in the gap for America's unborn children (being arrested many times for laying their lives down so that others may live). Because they are in tune to the silent cries of the unborn, they were in tune to the silent cries of this young man. They are rescuers, following the example of the best rescuer of all - Jesus Christ.
History repeats itself. Just as the priest and the Levite walked passed the man in the ditch in the story of the Good Samaritan, so too did Christians drive by on the bridge while this young man was dying. Everyday unborn babies are dying, and we, with our Jesus bumper stickers drive by. Thank God for those who are in tune with Holy Ghost who are willing to forsake all things so that Jesus may be glorified.
To the McGlade clan: Thanks for listening to the Lord. We love you and are encouraged greatly by your faithfulness. Well done good and faithful servants! ]