"I hugged him from behind": Man embraces stranger on 390 bridge and saves his life
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — David DelleFave didn’t take his break from work yesterday thinking he would face a life and death situation.
But that’s what happened.
"This is the edge right here," he said walking along the rail of the East Henrietta Road bridge over 390.
This is where DelleFave saw a man climb over the railing and stand on a small cut-out the size of a placemat. DellaFave turned around and pulled his car up next to the man.
"He didn’t say much. He sat there. He said he was having some issues," DelleFave said. "So I told him whatever it was, whatever was going on in his life, it was going to be okay."
The man was crying and started to lean out over the highway further. So DelleFave got out of his car and decided he had to act.
"I looked down over the edge and realized none of these vehicles are not going to stop in time if it does happen. I reached up behind him and I just embraced him. I put my arms around him. I hugged him from behind and I just held him," he said. "And I told him whatever it is, please come with me. Whatever is going on today, whatever it is, we’ll fix it just please come with me."
DelleFave says he could see the man sobbing and feel him shaking.
"I literally hugged for about 30 seconds. He just turned to me and said okay."
By the time they were safely on the bridge, the road was jammed with cars and people watching.
"I seen the lady here crying hysterically. I seen the other lady on the phone. I seen a gentleman down here leaning out of his truck cheering me on," he said. "That’s when I realized that — I probably just saved someone’s life."
The story doesn’t end there.
DelleFave put the man in his car, drove him to Taco Bell on Jefferson Road, bought him lunch and talked to him. And a sheriff’s deputy showed up and took the man to the hospital.