Due to a series of minor morning mishaps -- ill-timed phone calls, a wardrobe malfunction and heavy traffic on the highway -- I caught a later train than usual. That train was halted several stations before my usual stop, and the passengers were directed to shuttle buses that took us near our destination. The experience produced the following insights:
- Don't make assumptions. Online and in conversations, theories circulated about the jumper, who was a man. Early on, folks speculated that he had fallen; others assumed it was a suicide. A credible source told me that it was, indeed, a suicide, but I don't know for sure. Additionally, there were cruel speculations about the train conductor. People wanted to know: Was she texting? Was she on a cell phone? Why couldn't she stop the train before hitting him? I have no answers to those questions. But I what I do know that it's not fair or wise to make assumptions about life, death, finances or relationships.
- Seek help when needed: While trying to find facts for this post, I chatted with an officer. He had a theory, but no hard facts about the fatality. However, he did tell me that he's heard of more people jumping from trains in the last year. And of course, there have been recent news reports of financially-strapped workers or executives, who have committed suicide and/or killed family members. Friends, suicide hotlines, clergy leaders and community centers are resources if you are troubled or if you think a co-worker is suffering from a mental health crisis.
- Make a reality check: Before the facts were known, many commuters grumbled about the long delay, the crowded shuttle bus that provided alternate transportation and the general lack of information. We were all clueless about the delay. Waves of inpatience churned in my stomach. And then the shuttle bus dropped me off in front of the station. I saw the yellow crime tape, the tumult and the police. A fire truck ladder was extended to the above-ground track, where the rescue team was working on some manuever involving the train and the tracks. I looked away and walked to work. Those earlier waves of impatience were replaced with waves of gratitude as I felt lucky to be alive and in good health. And finally, I felt sad about the person who had fallen, slipped or jumped onto the tracks. May his soul rest in peace.
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