NYC Man Saves Stranger from East River Suicide


East River, New York City. Photo by Charles Parker from Pexels

On November 4, Don Varn, 72, an Upper East Side resident was walking on the East River promenade with his family, and then he saw a man crying on the wrong side of the water front railing, according to the New York Post. Varn then stopped to speak with the grieving man, a move that saved the young man's life.

“I thought he was taking photos with his phone, but when I got closer I could see the tears dripping down his nose,” Varn said to the New York Post. “I think he was texting his last goodbyes. I knew something was very wrong. He was just shaking, he was shaking like crazy.”

According to the article, the young man, who was later identified as Alex,31 , was mourning over the loss of his partner to suicide just three years earlier.  This was something that immediatly struck Varn because he was also in mourning.

That same day, Varn had just lost his best friend, Avery Baily, of over 50 years. In fact, it was because of this that Varn decided to take a walk down the East River so that he can reflect about their friendship.

“I was in the right place at the right time,” Varn said. “I told (Alex) there’s a whole lot of love left in the world. His partner wouldn’t want this for him, just like Avery wouldn’t want anything bad to happen to me.”

After 30 minutes, Varn and another woman named Theresa, were able to talk Alex off the river’s edge and then they called 911 for help. Varn was so grateful for Theresa's help since she was able to speak with the man in both English and Spanish.

“She was a Godsend,” said Varn. “She explained to him that we all get depressed, that we all get lonely. She had a very calming effect on him.”

 The suicidal man was taken to New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center and his condition remains unknown.

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