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A woman says a stranger caring about her in her darkest time saved her

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Time now for "My Unsung Hero," our series from the team at Hidden Brain, hearing about people whose kindness left a lasting impression on someone else.

Today we hear from Trieste Belmont. In 2014, she was struggling with depression. Her grandmother had just died, and she and her longtime boyfriend had just broken up. Life felt unbearable. Around that time, Belmont was teaching a dance class. She didn't have a driver's license, so friends and family would give her rides. One day, her ride didn't show up - and a note for listeners that the next part of the story is about suicide.

TRIESTE BELMONT: I waited for about an hour, and they never came. So I decided to just walk home. It wasn't super far, but longer than I wanted to walk. I was just having one of the worst days of my life. On the way home, I crossed over the 49 Bridge. And it's a pretty high bridge. And I was looking down at all the cars, just feeling so useless and like such a burden to everyone in my life that I decided that this was the time, and I needed to end my life. I was sobbing and crying and working up the courage to just go through with it because I knew at that moment that it was going to make everyone's lives better.

And a car came driving up from behind, and they shouted, don't jump, right as I was in one of my darkest moments. And those words just changed everything for me. Having a stranger care about me in my darkest time made it so that I didn't jump, and it saved my life.

(SOUNDBITE OF SOPHY PURNELL'S "FOND MEMORIES")

BELMONT: Something that I realized is that even if something's not a huge moment in your life, just the little small gestures that you can make for other people really do make a difference. Even if you see someone that has a cute outfit on, telling them might make their day. They might be super depressed and worried about the way they look. But if you come in and you give them a small little compliment, it could change everything for them.

(SOUNDBITE OF SOPHY PURNELL'S "FOND MEMORIES")

SHAPIRO: Trieste Belmont of Nevada City, Calif. In the past few years, Belmont says her mental health has greatly improved with the help of a therapist and her family's support. She hopes that sharing her story will inspire others struggling with depression to reach out for help.

And if you or someone you love struggles with suicidal thoughts, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. That number is 988.

You can find more stories like this one on the "My Unsung Hero" podcast. To share the story of your unsung hero, visit myunsunghero.org for instructions on how to send a voice memo.

(SOUNDBITE OF SOPHY PURNELL'S "FOND MEMORIES") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.