FORESTHILL — It’s been a year since the “Notes of Hope” started to appear on the Foresthill Bridge.
The handwritten notes of love and encouragement tied to the highest bridge in California have the goal of saving lives.
Kara Bearry and her kids were adding new notes on Tuesday when she noticed a young man on the bridge.
“I looked at him and I smiled, and he just hung his head down,” she said.
That was enough to give Bearry a feeling of unease, so she kept an eye on him as she and her children continued to hang notes.
Before they left, Bearry checked on the man one last time.
“I asked him if he was OK and he said yes, but he was shaking,” she told FOX40. “So, I said, ‘Can I hug you?’ and he said yes.”
Bearry said the man was trembling. She asked him to sit with her and he agreed.
The man had gone to the bridge to end his life.
“And we talked for an hour and a half on the bridge, and then I finally felt like I got him to the point where he was comfortable to call,” Bearry said.
With a promise to stay with him, they called the Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Bearry also called 911 for help. Deputies arrived and got the young man some help.
“It was a huge thing for me and for my children,” Bearry told FOX40. “I think it was just that positive reinforcement that what we’re doing is helping.”
Bearry says the experience of helping people with the notes has been an invaluable life lesson to her kids.
“I think we’re gaining being able to be nice and kind to people, and not being like, ‘Oh, it’s not my problem. I’m not going to help them,'” said her stepdaughter Leelaa Dumenici.
“This is going to teach them to always be kind,” she said. “You never know what someone’s going through.”
If you are having thoughts about suicide, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK or suicidepreventionlifeline.org.