Would you save a suicidal person by falling 30 feet through the air with them?

Robert E. Smith Jr., a 48-year-old father and grandfather from Allentown, PA, did exactly this on Monday.

A 20-year-old suicidal woman climbed up a fire escape to the roof of a three-story personal care facility she was staying at in Lehigh Vallery.  News of her attempt spread quickly and Smith, who knew the patient, was the first on scene.  He began talking to the young woman as she threatened to jump.  When she did jump, “he lunged forward to try and stop her, and she grabbed onto his clothing and pulled him over with her.” (Philly.com)

While in the air, Smith was able to maneuver himself so he was between the young woman and the ground, landing with his face down and “using himself to break the fall.” (Philly.com)  The young woman had a few fractures while Smith sustained two black eyes, and a deep cut in his forehead, broken bones in both arms.  Despite the impact, Smith did not have any injuries to the brain or to the spine.  Even though he received several surgeries, he may not regain the full use of both arms.  His surgeon said no one with Smith’s injuries had survived before.

Despite the physical injuries, Smith’s selfless and sacrificial action saved someone’s life, making him a true, real-life superhero.


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