Major League umpire John Tumpane found himself in a life or death situation yesterday while crossing the Roberto Clemente bridge, spanning the Allegheny River in Pittsburgh. Tumpane was walking across the bridge located near PNC Park after lunch, when he noticed a woman climb over a railing.
Here’s the amazing account from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
The bridge was mostly empty at that time of day. Tumpane rushed toward the woman, who appeared calm, and asking what was going on.
“I just wanted to get a better look of the city from this side,” she replied, according to the umpire’s recollection.
“Oh no,” Tumpane said, hooking his arm around hers. “You don’t want to do that. It’s just as good over here. Let’s go grab some lunch and talk.”
“No, no, no,” she answered. “I’m better off on this side. Just let me go.”
“I’m not going to let you go,” he said. “Let’s talk this out. We’ll get you back over here.”
“No one wants to help me,” she repeated. “Just let me go.”
“No, we’re here to help you.”
Tumpane was able to stay with the woman and restrain her, talk to her, and signal someone else to contact 9-1-1 for help. Eventually, emergency personnel arrived to assist in getting the woman off the bridge.
Once the woman was lifted back over the railing, she was laid on a mat, and paramedics readied the ambulance. Before she was whisked away, Tumpane knelt next to the woman and tried to comfort her. He asked for her first name, and she gave it, and he prayed for her.
“I told her, ‘I didn’t forget her, and we’d be here, and she’s better off on this side than the other side.’ ” he recalled. “I just want her to know that.”
Truly an incredible and inspiring story of someone stepping up to make a difference in someone’s life.