In Australia one of the most famous cliffs where people go to commit suicide is known as “the Gap,” a set of cliffs that navigate the Sydney Harbor. Each year around 50 people kill themselves by jumping off the cliff.
A local, Don Ritchie, has lived in a house adjacent to “the Gap” for over 40 years and has been deemed a hero. He is responsible for saving hundreds of people over the years since he first moved there.
Both he and his wife were aware of the reputation of the Gap prior to moving into their house.
As Ritchie describes it
I’m just trying to save a life. I used to sell kitchen scales and bacon cutters, then I was state manager of a life insurance company. At the Gap I’m trying to sell people life.
The main window to Ritchie’s house faces directly to the jumping point for where people jump. Whenever Ritchie sees someone who lingers too long at the spot he rushes over to them and invites them over to his house for tea.
His coaxing does not always work, and he has even witnessed people jump being the last person they speak to — but for all his effort over the years he has been awarded a place in the Order of Australia and a bravery medal.
The government has been looking into installing cameras and high railings but it has stalled due to the enormous cost ($2.1 million American).
Until such a time as the government can come up with the money their local hero the “Angel of the Gap” will continue to keep watch.