This traffic cop has prevented over 200 people from jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge.

Not all heroes wear capes. Some, like former California Highway Patrol officer Kevin Briggs, wear a traffic cop uniform and a smile.

All screenshots from "The Traffic Cop Who Became the Guardian of the Golden Gate."


Former San Francisco Sergeant Kevin Briggs has been credited with preventing more than 200 people from jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge.    

The iconic — but notorious — California landmark has gained a conflicting reputation as one of the sites that has the highest number of suicides in the United States: Almost 1,700 people have jumped to their deaths.

Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.

One of those people was a man named James, who jumped right in front of Briggs — and that experience changed his life forever.  

“I know that when someone gets to that level, it’s very, very difficult to get through to them and to get them to come back. But, we have to try.”

Briggs learned more about James' history, including his struggles with mental illness. It was a common thread that Briggs saw during his years as a highway traffic patrol cop. He saw people contemplate suicide often, and his job was to work with them to see if he could get them back.

But Briggs didn't have a lot of experience with mental illness. His office didn't have any training on how to work with people struggling with mental illness, so he researched it himself. He went through the basics of mental illness, the stage of various illnesses, and how to approach someone contemplating suicide.

His dedication mattered. In 2005, Briggs was photographed talking Kevin Berthia off the bridge ledge in an iconic photo.

Berthia was one of many people who Briggs helped to save. As he gained more experience with preventing people from jumping off the bridge, he asked them about his methods — including what worked and what didn't — so he could help more people.

“It took a lot of courage to go over that rail," said Briggs. "Personally, I think it takes even more courage to come back.”

While the academic understanding of mental illness was relatively new to Briggs, suicide was not. He lost his grandfather to suicide as a child.

A young Kevin Briggs.

Briggs was aware that mental illness could be in his family, but his own diagnosis was still a surprise.

It wasn't until he saw his doctor for a routine physical that he was diagnosed with depression. This revelation only pushed Briggs to learn and help others even more.

“If I’m experiencing these things — if I can help somebody else through a very, very dark time, I’m gonna. I’m gonna do my darnedest to try and do that.”    

Though retired, Briggs shows no signs of slowing down on his journey to help others. He began giving speeches around the country — including a powerful Ted Talk — on how to develop the necessary courage and skills to help others suffering with suicidal thoughts.

In 2014, Kevin Briggs gave a moving Ted Talk on the bridge between suicide and life.

Initially afraid of being ridiculed at his job or ostracized by friends, Briggs ended up receiving numerous letters of gratitude from people struggling with depression and suicidal thoughts, who thanked him for his work and influence in their lives. Through his work, he's gained numerous new friends around the world, and he's changed lives while doing it.  

“I want to reach as many people as I can, to show them that there is a way not only to survive, but to thrive.”  

Watch Kevin Briggs talk about his life-saving work below:

More

Climate change is happening because the earth is warming at an accelerated rate, a significant portion of that acceleration is due to human activity, and not taking measures to mitigate it will have disastrous consequences for life as we know it.

In other words: Earth is heating up, it's kinda our fault, and if we don't fix it, we're screwed.

This is the consensus of the vast majority of the world's scientists who study such things for a living. Case closed. End of story.

How do we know this to be true? Because pretty much every reputable scientific organization on the planet has examined and endorsed these conclusions. Thousands of climate studies have been done, and multiple peer-reviewed studies have been done on those studies, showing that somewhere between 84 and 97 percent of active climate science experts support these conclusions. In fact, the majority of those studies put the consensus well above 90%.

Keep Reading Show less
Nature

As a child, Dr. Sangeeta Bhatia's parents didn't ask her what she wanted to be when she grew up. Instead, her father would ask, "Are you going to be a doctor? Are you going to be an engineer? Or are you going to be an entrepreneur?"

Little did he know that she would successfully become all three: an award-winning biomedical and mechanical engineer who performs cutting-edge medical research and has started multiple companies.

Bhatia holds an M.D. from Harvard University, an M.S. in mechanical engineering from MIT, and a PhD in biomedical engineering from MIT. Bhatia, a Wilson professor of engineering at MIT, is currently serving as director of the Marble Center for Cancer Nanomedicine, where she's working on nanotechnology targeting enzymes in cancer cells. This would allow cancer screenings to be done with a simple urine test.

Bhatia owes much of her impressive career to her family. Her parents were refugees who met in graduate school in India; in fact, she says her mom was the first woman to earn an MBA in the country. The couple immigrated to the U.S. in the 1960s, started a family, and worked hard to give their two daughters the best opportunities.

"They made enormous sacrifices to pick a town with great public schools and really push us to excel the whole way," Bhatia says. "They really believed in us, but they expected excellence. The story I like to tell about my dad is like, if you brought home a 96 on a math test, the response would be, 'What'd you get wrong?'"

Keep Reading Show less
Packard Foundation
True

I live in a family with various food intolerances. Thankfully, none of them are super serious, but we are familiar with the challenges of finding alternatives to certain foods, constantly checking labels, and asking restaurants about their ingredients.

In our family, if someone accidentally eats something they shouldn't, it's mainly a bit of inconvenient discomfort. For those with truly life-threatening food allergies, the stakes are much higher.

I can't imagine the ongoing stress of deadly allergy, especially for parents trying to keep their little ones safe.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
Amy Johnson

The first day of school can be both exciting and scary at the same time — especially if it's your first day ever, as was the case for a nervous four-year-old in Wisconsin. But with a little help from a kind bus driver, he was able to get over his fear.

Axel was "super excited" waiting for the bus in Augusta with his mom, Amy Johnson, until it came time to actually get on.

"He was all smiles when he saw me around the corner and I started to slow down and that's when you could see his face start to change," his bus driver, Isabel "Izzy" Lane, told WEAU.

The scared boy wouldn't get on the bus without help from his mom, so she picked him up and carried him aboard, trying to give him a pep talk.

"He started to cling to me and I told him, 'Buddy, you got this and will have so much fun!'" Johnson told Fox 7.

Keep Reading Show less
Most Shared