- Associated Press - Sunday, January 24, 2016

FALL RIVER, Mass. (AP) - From the edge of the highway overpass, Kevin Medeiros felt he found the answer.

The cars speeding by below him would kill him and give him peace.

He was ready to die.

Then came a voice. Not from on high. A man, a stranger, was standing a distance away, asking Medeiros if he needed help. His guardian angel was driving a Gold Medal Bakery truck from Fall River.

“I don’t know how long I was out there on the ledge,” Medeiros said recently. “It was a while. A lot of cars went by that didn’t stop.

“He did.”

Medeiros, 25, of Burrillville, works in computers for a financial company. He is married now. He and his wife, Rachel, have two children. The oldest, Derek, is named after the man who made it possible, Derek McCoy of Tiverton, the truck driver who stopped to help.

Medeiros and his wife were in Orlando, Florida, showing the Magic Kingdom to their son and daughter for the first time.

Recently they were heading to T.F. Greene Airport - running late - when Rachel spotted a Gold Medal truck in Cumberland and saw the name on the door, Derek McCoy.

“I’ve been looking for him for years,” Medeiros said. “I just wanted him to know the good he did. I had just about given up. I’d been searching for so long.”

He called Gold Medal in Fall River and was told there was no employee named Derek McCoy, Medeiros said. McCoy is an independent contractor with them.

There was no doubt, when he took off after the truck, that the family would miss their flight, Medeiros said. There was no question that was exactly what they were going to do, he added.

His wife was as determined as he was, he said.

“Life can be really tough,” Medeiros said. “At the time, I was 19 years old and I was going through a down spiral. I was in a relationship that wasn’t going well and I’d battled depression for years.”

There had been earlier attempts at suicide, with cuts and pills, Medeiros said. This time, it felt different, he said.

“I sat down one day and it all hit me at once,” he said. “I felt pain and it was unbearable.

“I decided to walk down the block, step out onto the ledge and do what I had to do.”

Medeiros said he didn’t have second thoughts as he stood on the ledge of the Route 7 bridge over Interstate 295 in Smithfield. He was just thinking about his life. Then he heard someone speak to him.

“He was calm,” Medeiros said. “He was calm with every word that came out of his mouth. And he was careful.

“I didn’t make eye contact with him right away. I didn’t want him to see the pain. Then he told me his name and told me about himself.”

Medeiros and McCoy are the same age. Their lives have followed similar paths. McCoy was able to offer him something he hadn’t felt for a long time, Medeiros said. He offered a small ray of hope.

“How he approached me, I’d never expect that from someone my age,” Medeiros said. “It was like he had been around a long time. As he spoke, he made me think.”

Eventually, those thoughts were about others.

“He said to me, how do you think your mother and father will feel, knowing their son won’t come back,” Medeiros said.

“And, somehow, he seemed to make it funny. I don’t know how, but he asked me to think about how the people on 295 would feel once they ran me over.”

Medeiros climbed off the ledge and went with McCoy to sit by the side of the road. McCoy called the police before he got out of his truck, so they were already standing by. All officers are trained to help potential suicides. The first rule is to stay back if someone has established rapport and is doing everything right. They stood back and let McCoy handle it.

“The police were there,” McCoy said. “They showed up with an ambulance and a firetruck.

“They put Kevin in the ambulance and that was the last I saw of him.”

For Medeiros, it was a turning point in his life. That turning point, Medeiros said, started when McCoy walked up and introduced himself.

Medeiros went into counseling and took medication. He began to understand himself. Four months later he met Rachel. When their son was born, they knew what his first name would be.

Medeiros followed the bread truck to a store in Cumberland. He waited as McCoy packaged his delivery and then went into the store.

He approached him.

“I said his name,” Medeiros said. “He didn’t recognize me. I told him my name and where we met. He said he always wondered how I was doing. Then I said I had someone I wanted him to meet.”

Derek Medeiros shook Derek McCoy’s hand.

“I told him my son’s name,” Medeiros said. “He lit up like a Christmas tree.”

“I’ve wondered about him, a lot, over the six years,” McCoy said. “But it becomes more distant.

“But I remember that day on the highway. I remember it well. It is so good to know he is doing well.

“And to name his son after me, I really don’t know the word for that. When I met his son, I felt something I haven’t felt for a long time. I felt overjoyed.

“It has been a day now. That feeling hasn’t gone away. Not even a little bit.”

___

Information from: The (Fall River, Mass.) Herald News, https://www.heraldnews.com

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide