How One Compassionate Man Saved the Lives of Over 300 People

“Nothing is more important than life.”

Feb 15, 2019

Whatever supernatural powers you believe in (or not), there’s no arguing that Chen Si is an angel. For the past 13 years, Chen has spent his weekends on the Nanjing Yangtze Bridge, one of the world’s most popular spots for suicide. So far, his compassion has saved 300 people.

Eventually, his dedication towards helping those on the brink of giving up caught the attention of filmmakers Frank L. Ferendo and Jordan Horowitz, who made a documentary about him titled, Angel of Nanjing.

In 2003, Chen was on his way to work when he met an old man who offered him some advice. Not long after meeting, the man’s sons began arguing about their inheritance.

Devasted, the man stopped eating and eventually died. After hearing about the man’s story, Chen wanted to help others. He believed that if he could have spoken to the man, he could have changed his outlook. The hero travels 25 kilometers to the bridge every weekend, starting his patrol at 7:30 am and looks for those who want to jump, gently starting up a conversation and persuading them that nothing is more important than life.

Because he knows he can’t stand on the bridge all day every day, Chen wrote his number on the bridge for anyone who needs a supportive and caring person to speak to, and it’s often his empathy and understanding that helps save lives.

Most of those who wish to end their lives and jump from the bridge are migrants, working long hours away from their home and family. Once in that same situation himself, Chen is able to relate to their pain and also remind them that there is a lot more to live for. He’s a loving, living reminder that anyone tormented by their inner struggles can still find a way to embrace and cherish their life.

Each time Chen saves a life, he reminds them that the most important thing they can do is hold onto the hope that they can move past their trauma.

And it’s because of his selflessness and ability to show the best side of humanity that these people often do find the courage and inner strength to gain a new lease on life.

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REBECCA WOJNO, CONTRIBUTOR
Rebecca is passionate about reading, cooking, and learning about people doing good in the world. She especially loves writing about wellness, personal growth, and relationships.

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