Orlando driver talks man off ledge using song lyrics

Bad decisions, family problems led him to believe suicide was his only option

By Edysmar Diaz-Cruz - Digital Intern

ORLANDO, Fla. - As hundreds of cars crossed an overpass, one driver turned back when she saw a man sitting on the ledge. 

Cristina Settanni, who works in health care, almost never takes State Road 408 but she was running late for work that February morning. She passed the man but as she looked in her rear view mirror, she decided to stop, get out of her car and walk over to him. 

"I stopped because I've been where he is. He needed someone to show they cared," Settanni said.

She sat with him and feared for a moment that he would jump.

To try and comfort the man, Settanni recited a lyric from the Linkin Park song "One more light": "Who cares if one more light goes out? Well, I do."

"I didn't know if it clicked with him, but he just cried," she said. 

Soon after, Orange County Sheriff's Office deputy Shaun Cayer arrived, responding to multiple 911 calls from people who saw the man on the ledge. Bodycam footage shows Settanni sitting next to the man on the overpass bridge, speaking to him in a calm, composed manner. 

When the man refused to step back, Cayer pulled him away to safety. He later learned that bad decisions and family problems are what drove the man to feel that suicide was his only option. 

When asked if he saved a life that day, Cayer said: "I'd like to think so. Hopefully, he took that as a sign." 

The man was not arrested but was taken to a mental health care facility under the Baker Act. 

Settanni says she still thinks about him every day and can't bring herself to take State Road 408 anymore.

Crisis counselors at locally operated centers across the U.S. are available 24 hours a day through The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Call 800-273-8255 or visit suicidepreventionlifeline.org for help.

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