A San Diego couple was in the right place at the right time when they spotted a man walking along the Coronado Bay Bridge and immediately felt something was wrong.
Wednesday was date night for Dr. Matthew Bruhin and his wife, Elizabeth. The couple told NBC 7 they hit some traffic on the way back to their home on Coronado Island.
Their path crossed a stranger's path, just in the nick of time.
"As we came on the Coronado Bay Bridge, it was literally the exact timing he was walking up the bridge," Bruhin said, referring to a man walking alone along the bridge.
Right away, the couple said they knew something was amiss. They slowed down and tried to talk to the man.
The stranger was distraught.
"He didn’t make any response at all but I noticed he was crying and I know that isn’t a good sign," Bruhin said.
What they didn’t know until later was that the man is a U.S. military veteran, the father of a little girl and a hard worker. He had been turned away from a downtown homeless shelter that night because he had worked too late and missed the time window to check into the facility.
The Bruhins said they knew they had to help.
Police arrived and recognized Bruhin as being a licensed mental health clinician. He is also CEO of APEX Recovery, a drug and alcohol treatment center, and offered the man his services.
"We forget sometimes that there are people out there who really need a hug, a smile, a touch, kindness," Bruhin said.
The man eventually stepped off the ledge and got into the couple's car.
"He’s happy to be alive. He’s really made an effort to put this behind him, and I think that’s a beautiful thing," Bruhin said.
APEX Recovery is offering all of its services pro bono to the man. He'll be able to stay in the rehab facility as long as it takes for him to get back on his feet.
There is a GoFundMe page set up for the man.
More than 415 people have died after jumping off the Coronado Bay Bridge. If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide and needs help, reach out to the local crisis hotline at (888)724- 7240.