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This is a question MTFU

When have you had to be brave when all you've wanted to do was weep like a blubber-titted bitch?
Tell us so we can judge you.

via Smash Monkey

(, Thu 1 Aug 2013, 17:36)
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I wrote this as therapy
I usually bring my own sparse lunch of salad and fruit and eat it in the atrium of the neighboring office building. It is a pleasant, airy space with glass walls on two sides, palm trees and a view over the lake. Normally, I walk over with some co-workers but sometimes I go on my own. On this day I came alone and joined some friends who were already eating. My friends had to leave just before 1:00 pm for meetings. I was expecting a phone call from the bank about a new mortgage. It took about 25 minutes for the broker to talk me through each of the 50 pages in the mortgage package. I ended the call, decided that nobody would notice if I took a few minutes longer than the allotted hour and started to read my newspaper.

No longer than 10 seconds
My reading was interrupted by an unfamiliar sound, a raised voice and then an explosion from behind me. I stood up and turned to see what was happening. The first thing to catch my eye was a cloud of dust and debris, illuminated by the sunlight coming into the atrium. Then, I saw a man lying on the ground about 15 feet away. There were at least 30 people in the atrium or the adjoining sandwich shop, panicked voices, screams and cries rose up. I heard some people saying, “call 911.” I turned to a group on my right pointed at them and shouted “Call 911! I know CPR” and ran towards the man. I gulped, I knew this was going to be very bad, but I also knew that somebody had to do something. As I approached the man on the ground, nothing about his body seemed to make sense, he wore grey pants and a blue shirt but I could not tell if he was on his front, back or side. I kneeled next to him putting my left hand on what might have been his shoulder. My first thought was to check for breathing. I looked for his mouth but saw only black hair, his open skull and one hemisphere of his brain which was still pulsating with blood. Instantly, I knew what the explosion had been, that he must have jumped from the balcony and that first aid was not going to help. I stood and turned back to the people in the atrium and said “He’s dead!” before repeating the euphemism “First Aid is not going to help him.”

“Not really but I’m going to keep going”
My concern now became to stop others from seeing what I had just seen and to minimize the panic and chaos. It took little effort to persuade most people to move back and leave the atrium although some people were frozen to the spot and just stared, others in the cafeteria didn’t know exactly what had happened and remained in line to pay for their sandwiches. I quickly saw that there was a more pressing problem; the man had landed directly in front of the elevators. A group had descended in the elevator and as the doors opened there was a wave of gasps and screams. I approached, told them to get back in the elevator and return to their offices. Another elevator arrived and I sent them back, too. By watching the floor indicator lights I could tell where the next elevator would arrive and attempt to shield the body from the elevator passengers’ view. This was not always successful but at least some people were spared the sight of the body. Interestingly, nobody argued with me.

Another man was attempting to control the stream of people trying to enter the atrium. He called out for a sheet to cover the body – nobody managed to find one - and for the security guard who remained at his post at the entrance to the building to shut down the elevators – he didn’t. I helped him to close the large double doors leading into the atrium from the building’s front lobby. This stopped the flow of people coming into the atrium. I stayed behind the doors with the body trying to intercept people as they came down in the elevators. One man who arrived on his own in an elevator calmly asked what was happening. I told him that a man had jumped from the balcony and that his body was behind me, he leaned over to look, I told him to go back upstairs, he asked if he could just go out of the front of the building and I let him go through. A group of women arrived; one woman was screaming, talking to somebody on her cellphone and demanded to see my ID badge. I don’t remember clearly but I either pushed her, or her friends pulled her, back into the elevator and she left.

The man who had closed the atrium doors put his head through them and asked if I was OK. I replied “No, not really but I’m going to keep going until the cops get here.” The stream of people arriving in the elevators had slowed and this gave me time to think. Perhaps I should take off my shirt to cover the man’s body? Perhaps I should jam the elevators to stop more people coming down? I began to wonder how much longer I would have to stay. I noticed one man standing immobile in the cafeteria staring through the window at the body. I gesticulated and shouted for him to leave through the back of the atrium but he stood mute and paralyzed. I knew he needed help but I dared not leave my post in front of the elevators.

Perhaps bizarrely, my thoughts also turned to how I was going to cope with the mental effect this was having on me. I remembered hearing that after witnessing something horrific it is important to expose yourself to something natural and beautiful. I really wanted the situation to come to an end.

Relief arrives
My best guess is that the first City Police officer came through the door about five minutes after the incident started. But, in truth, my perception of the passage of time can hardly have been accurate so it could have been a much shorter or much longer period of time. The officer was carrying yellow cordon tape. Another group descended in an elevator and I sent them back upstairs. I reported the facts I knew to the cop. One of the office park’s security guards arrived about 10-15 seconds after the police officer. His first words were to me, asking if he could leave. I was angry, wondering why he had not arrived sooner but I restricted myself to saying that it didn’t look like he could be much help and that he should go. Two paramedics arrived and it was only then that I realized that the policeman had encircled the area with yellow crime scene tape and that I was inside the crime scene. The paramedics had a body bag and a “DOA certificate.” The policeman told me to go and wait “over there.”
I returned to my lunch table. My phone, newspaper, lunchbox, mortgage documents, pen and notepad were all still there. I wanted to cry. Instead, I started to write my name, address and phone number on the notepad. The pen did not write well; perhaps the sweat from my hands had moistened the paper. The police officer came over, asked for my name, I handed him the sheet of notepaper and showed him my driver’s license. He said I was free to go and I left.

Getting out of the office
I walked out of the back of the atrium around the lake, across the road, through the smokers at the back of my building, who were talking about the incident. I was trembling. I found my supervisor who was categorical that I should go home. I told him that I was in no state to drive and that I needed to go for a walk to calm my nerves.
(, Sat 3 Aug 2013, 2:55, 25 replies)
Oh, wow. Harsh stuff.
Thankyou for sharing.

I've tried and failed to offer a better reply; perhaps later I can muster my thoughts better.
(, Sat 3 Aug 2013, 6:25, closed)
This is going to sound lacking in empathy, but you were lucky.
Why lucky? Well, at least the person was dead.


My friends mother was on the scene when a person jumped from that car park. The car park is quite high but when she had the misfortune to witness and then responded as a trained nurse. She was devastated to find that the person was not dead, in a great deal of pain. The person died within minutes, it was not good. Apparently, that is not the first person who did not die instantly from that height and the upside is that since it became known that instant death is not guaranteed there have been no further suicide attempts.
(, Sat 3 Aug 2013, 7:01, closed)
They all come out of the woodwork
After it happened three separate work acquaintances told me they had seen something similar, One guy had somebody jump into a shallow river where he was running and take about 5 minutes to die in his arms while waiting for the ambulance.
(, Sat 3 Aug 2013, 14:05, closed)
I'm sorry but this just reads as attention seeking to me.
You were under no obligation to act as an impromptu police officer and didn't really achieve anything apart from traumatising yourself.
If somebody wants to top themselves then do as you were told and call 911 and let the professionals deal with it.
(, Sat 3 Aug 2013, 8:54, closed)
To be fair
the OP knew CPR and thought he could help, and that lead to his or her involvement.

Good story and excellent example of someone MTFU. Click
(, Sat 3 Aug 2013, 10:46, closed)
Oh, yes, "I know CPR".
Doesn't everybody?
Where is it that they teach CPR that also includes being an impromptu volunteer police officer?
Don't get me wrong, I'm all for helping those who have suffered an accident but standing around directing crowds and preventing people from going on their lunch break has nothing to do with CPR and everything to do with being self-important. I'd have been very pissed off if some up-themselves prick tried to stop me getting off a lift to go to lunch because they though I couldn't handle seeing a dead body and they could so heroically protect me from it.
(, Sat 3 Aug 2013, 11:28, closed)
The attention seeking is surely your contentious response.

(, Sat 3 Aug 2013, 13:02, closed)
Not at all.
Wouldn't you be pissed off if somebody self-importantly stopped you getting out of a lift?
(, Sat 3 Aug 2013, 13:35, closed)
Seems to me the OP did everything he could and should. Some jurisdictions have specific legal obligations on the public regarding conduct at emergencies; such concepts pre-date modern policing (e.g. "hue and cry" dating back to 1285).

Then there's a whole moral argument on top: Providing dignity to the deceased.

Also: No, not everybody knows CPR. Fewer still are competent at it, can actually recall it when the adrenaline kicks in, and are willing to get their hands dirty.

I'd be glad to encouraged to divert my route, if it meant avoiding a traumatic scene I couldn't help with, and avoiding (putting it bluntly) getting brains on my shoes.

He stopped many people from needless distress, and contaminating a crime scene. Frankly I'm struggling to understand your point of view.
(, Sat 3 Aug 2013, 17:48, closed)
I think we agree on everybody knowing CPR.
The reason I mentioned that everybody knows CPR is if you ask them most people will tell you they know it either because they were taught it by an instructor (as I have been on at least two occasions I can recall) or they've "seen it on TV". When, in actual fact, they will probably do it wrong (as I have no doubt I would) because CPR is more complicated than it looks, the mouth-to-mouth has been dropped and the pressure necessary to do it will be hard to gauge the first time you do it -- I'd bet on being too gentle or breaking a rib.
So, in view of the above if the OP is properly trained then fair enough but "I know CPR" does not make you a qualified first responder.
I don't necessarily think the actions were wrong, by the way, just that taking charge in an emergency when it's not your job and you're not trained or empowered to do so by law is a little narcissistic.
I don't particularly see anything brave or useful in what the OP did either. Pulling somebody from a wreck or a burning building is a brave and useful act -- preventing people from "contaminating a crime scene" is just elevating yourself above others. That's what I have problem with -- those who meddle to give themselves importance without actually doing any real good.
(, Sun 4 Aug 2013, 19:17, closed)
General consensus seems to be, if you don't break ribs you're not doing it hard enough.

(, Mon 5 Aug 2013, 14:02, closed)

Most people aren't so obsessed with lunch that they'll step over a bleeding corpse to get it. As for those that are - they'd probably benefit from taking the stairs, anyhow.
(, Sat 3 Aug 2013, 14:00, closed)
Attention seeking
Posting this on a public forum might be attention seeking but on the day it happened my initial motivation was to help the guy. You see, I didn't realize that he had jumped, I had just heard an explosion. Seeing the guy's exposed brain was traumatizing, diverting people coming down in the lift didn't deepen my trauma. If I had done nothing then about 50 people would have sauntered out of the lifts thinking only that it was great that the line at the sandwich shop was so short and then possibly tripping over the reason the shop was nearly empty.
(, Sat 3 Aug 2013, 13:58, closed)
"nearly empty."
So there were still people buying sandwiches?

"Oh look there's some pulverised body parts.... Ummm, no, no mayo thanks."

(, Sat 3 Aug 2013, 23:18, closed)

Assuming that this is a real account, I don't think anyone that has posted one answer and three replies in two years can be considered actively seeking attention on the internet.
(, Sat 3 Aug 2013, 18:47, closed)
I trust writing it has given you some sense of relief.
Never come across a body yet and would prefer to keep it that way.
I think if I were ever going to top myself I might pause and give thought to the poor bastard that would have to mop up the mess afterwards.
(, Sat 3 Aug 2013, 13:27, closed)

I first wrote this about a week after it happened and it pretty much gave me "closure." I had disturbed sleep for the first two nights but I also saw a counsellor that work provided (over one hundred people saw the incident so they brought counsellors into the office.)

They guy who jumped wanted to make a statement and chose to jump at the busiest time.
(, Sat 3 Aug 2013, 14:02, closed)
Respect for the dead and all that but....
seems like a rather cuntish thing to do.
Suicide (I believe) is a fairly selfish act in itself and suicide that appears to deliberately traumatise others just comes across as the workings of a fairly nasty mind (not that it would be particularly 'balanced" anyway).

Kudos to you for stepping in and doing what you could at the time rather than just joining the rubber-neck brigade.
(, Sat 3 Aug 2013, 22:31, closed)

Yeah, right on Mis. These clinically depressed people, what a bunch of cunts they are.
(, Sun 4 Aug 2013, 1:29, closed)
Sorry if you feel I was being a bit to harsh.
Having been treated on & off for a mental illness for most of my adult life and having buried two of my best friends who both chose to commit suicide (with little thought for the person finding them) my POV may be a tad biased I'll admit.

Having said that about myself, do you think the guy gave thought to the fact that he could well have seriously injured if not killed someone by landing on them? Whilst committing his own suicide. Clearly not.
So I stand by my assertion - clearly he wasn't 'of sound mind' but jumping from a great height into a crowded atrium at a time when it's going to be busy isn't just selfishness it's pretty cuntish.
(, Sun 4 Aug 2013, 5:34, closed)
Suicide is inherently a selfish act. FFs spare a thought for the trauma you are going to cause when you check out.
(, Tue 6 Aug 2013, 12:40, closed)
Didn't we nearly come to blows on this subject a while ago?
Not shit-stirring just struggling to remember.
(, Wed 7 Aug 2013, 4:50, closed)
I don't recall nearly coming to blows about this with anyone
And to be fair even if we did i am not one to hold a grudge.
(, Wed 7 Aug 2013, 9:22, closed)
For those who are interested
(, Sun 4 Aug 2013, 2:52, closed)

For what it's worth, I think you deserve a massive Bravo Zulu for stepping up, and taking charge.

With reference to CPR, as has been pointed out it's not as easy as it looks. I taught it for many years and the people who were consistently awful at it were usually nurses.

However, having read the previous link, I'm more impressed that the OP MTFUd and admitted he works for PWC!
(, Sun 4 Aug 2013, 19:42, closed)

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