There are a few things in this world that make life worth living.
The fellowship and empathy of our fellow humans is one. Cold beer on a hot day is another.
Kwame Anderson used both on Wednesday to save the life of a suicidal man he and a coworker happened upon while driving their beer delivery route.
At the start of a short video Anderson uploaded to Facebook, a 29-year-old man is seen clinging tenuously to the other side of a pedestrian fence on the Earl Street Bridge in St. Paul, as highway traffic zips by beneath him.
"Hey, bro, you alright?" driver Jason Gaebel asks the man, pulling the beer truck to a stop. "Come on this side, bro."
The man replies that he wants to die. Gaebel and Anderson both begin saying, "No, no, no," before the clip cuts out.
In the moments that followed, Anderson hopped out of the truck and approached the would-be jumper, later telling the St. Paul Pioneer Press he was channeling Denzel Washington's police negotiator character in the movie The Inside Man.
Anderson, who also performs stand-up and improv in the Twin Cities, struck up a conversation with the man, asking about where he was from—Chicago; Anderson, a native of St. Paul, struck common ground by saying that he grew up in "the hood just like you"—and if he wanted money, or food.
The man said no to both. Anderson then wielded the resources at his disposal. How about one of the many Coors Lights in the delivery truck they'd just parked?
"If you come down from there, do you want to get a drink with me and talk about what's going on?" Anderson told the fellow, according to the Pioneer Press. Then, opening a case, Anderson said: "I have a pack of Coors Light for you. Follow me."
The man got himself down off the bridge, by which time emergency responders had arrived. He didn't get his beer—EMTs instead took him in for a medical evaluation—but did get another day on this Earth, all thanks to two men generous of spirit, time, humanity, and beer.
Gaebel sees serendipity in their even being there at that moment, observing that they normally drive a different delivery route. Anderson's video ends with his interacting with St. Paul Police Department officers—everyone thanks each other—and saying, "He did not commit suicide, so, it's a good day."
As if this story weren't goddamn delightful enough already, St. Paul Police spokesman Sgt. Mike Ernster added one more great line. "Beer has been bringing people together for a long, long time," Ernster told the PiPress. "Today, it brought people together in a life-saving way.”
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