Wednesday, 2 September 2009


It's Bank Holiday Friday 28th August 2009 and holiday makers are setting off for a couple of days well earned rest in the South West. Obviously, there will be heavy traffic which may well add an hour or so to the journey but evidently it's worth it for the chance to relax on a beach and forget the daily grind. The cars and caravans are laden with children, wind breaks, children, buckets & spades, even more children, beach towels and - you've guessed it, children. 'Are we nearly there yet Daddy?'

Except it didn't go like that. A man decided that life had become too much for him and had clambered onto a pillar above the river with the intent of jumping to his death. The police closed the Avonmouth bridge northbound while they tried to persuade the man to change his mind. Southbound traffic slowed to a crawl as the rubber-neckers strained for a sight of the action.

As the drama played out, the heat was rising in cars full of holiday makers as children became first petulant then impossible to placate as their holidays became less and less of an enjoyable experience. The occupants of the cars got to hear the reason for their delay via word of mouth or radio reports as their ordeal continued.

The hours passed and for many, lack of water became an issue. In some vehicles, babies needed their feeds and parents needed hot water to prepare them but none was available. Elderly people and indeed the not so elderly suffered discomfort as toilet needs became more and more of a problem. In total, the delay lasted for over 6 hours. This was 6 hours of misery for many thousands of people who had only wanted to enjoy a couple of days break. Some of the people had the added trauma of being able to see the man as the professionals quietly talked to him and attempted to change his mind.

In the end he jumped. It seems that it was his failed marriage which had led him to the brink. There have been hundreds of posts about the incident. Some say he was selfish. Others are full of empathy for him. Many blamed the police for over-reacting by closing the bridge and causing traffic mayhem.

I do feel sorry for him that his trauma should cause him to end his life that way. But I'm also very sorry for the thousands of people who suffered 6 hours of misery because of the way in which he decided to finish it. Most of all though, I feel tremendous sympathy for the poor people who tried to talk him out of it. Imagine their feelings as they saw him jump after so many hours during which they must have come to know him.


  1. Not often you see 'suicide' and 'traffic jams' side by side as labels to describe a blog post.

    I heard a lot about this, my mum is a taxi driver in the area!

    Happy hols :-/

  2. I think this is what you call a "no win situation"

  3. How sad, and perhaps pathetic. I always find it difficult to empathize with those who commit suicide. God gave us this wonderful body and life, and I feel we should not treat it in an ill-manner. How thankless to God to destroy the gift of our body over events in our life we may not enjoy... as I said, I find it difficult to empathize, although I do try. >:-\