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Facing down a train – a child in distress

She stood compelled to watch in horror.

 It was clear that the young lad was in distress and making his decision moved forward quickly and purposefully.  The ‘station attendant, ‘red vest’, in step with the lad, whether tipped off on the lad’s apparent state of mind, or by experience or training recognizing the danger signs, his radio in one hand, his other hand trying to block access to the tracks .

The train driver and paramedics notified, the ‘red vest’ continued step in step, down the platform with the boy, and the train roared in, bell ringing, lights flashing – telling everyone to clear the way. Then, in that instant the boy jumped and time stood still for just a second, while in an astounding heroic act, the red shirt grabbed the leaping figure mid-air and pulled him in to safety.

Time resumed, passengers scurried off and on the train.  The world carried on.  But for the young boy, now struggling with paramedics, from his missed opportunity, what next?  What drove him into such utter despair that there was no alternative?  Was there no one to talk to, no family- no friends?

We have not reached all children, and at 15 or 16, still a child, this young person sadly could not face another day of the life he was leading.

Will he get the help he needs?  How do we help someone who has no wish to live?  So many people are trying their best to reach out, provide hope to those who are suffering.  In that short instant, there were people blocking the road to the boy’s self-destruction – the ‘red vest’, the paramedics, and then the doctors and staff in the crisis centre at  CHEO where he would have been taken.

 Look at the bullying programs, in schools, the national awareness programs, Bell Let’s talk day and other initiatives.  Still children kill themselves.  Is it because these programs are not working.  Is it the school, who by some reports don’t really protect the children who are bullied and the ones doing the bullying get away with continuing to torment?  There a e other life ordeals that might drive a child to such an action.

It takes support and strength from parents, or mentors and a solid program in schools, and not just lip service to help those children in need and not all children receive that help. Many children must fend for themselves, the discarded, the lonely, the fragile and the afraid.

As for the young woman watching?  She lies awake some night, jarred by the image of the boy’s face. And thinking of her own children, she wants them to know that they always talk to her, and to their father, and to the devoted family who surrounds them.  If only all children had support.

Sadly, sometimes talking is still not enough, for some children, and as a society we must continue whatever actions and programs it takes to reach out and draw in the young people who believe they have no future.