Edit ModuleShow Tags

The Height of Despair

Most of us see the Coronado Bridge as a quick way across San Diego Bay. Some see it as a drive toward their final destination.


Published:

(page 1 of 3)

A YOUNG WOMAN, barely 17, sits on a concrete ledge high above the deep, unforgiving waters of San Diego Bay. She is prepared to shuffle off this mortal coil and leave everything—aspirations, fears, her history and her future, her passion and her pride—on the other side of one fatal leap into darkness. Seventeen years old.

How can you fathom what is going through her mind? What can you say to silence her inner demons?

This was not a neatly wrapped hypothetical facing Coronado police officer Bob Kline one balmy afternoon as he sat engaged in conversation with a woman intent on ending her life. They talked to each other on the very edge of the San Diego–Coronado Bay Bridge, a gusting wind pushing at their backs and a sheer drop of 200 feet facing them, straight down into the chill waters below.

“She was sitting on the ledge with her feet hanging over the side,” Kline recalls. “She had failed her entrance exam at Stan - ford, and she felt like she had let everybody down.”

The two of them sat there at that dizzying height for more than two hours, while Kline ever so gently drew her out and pieced together her story. “I still remember her telling me about her family,” he says. “Her brother was a doctor. Her sister was a lawyer. Apparently, her father was pretty upset about her failing the exam.”

Finally, Kline was able to talk her down from her precarious perch. “I told her, ‘Look, you’re just 17 years old. You still have so many chances. But if you go over the edge, you don’t get another chance. Jumping from this bridge isn’t going to give you another day. There won’t be another day.’”

The encounter took place years ago. Some details—the color of the young woman’s hair, the clothes she was wearing—have faded from memory. But Kline says the words they exchanged stay with him still.

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

More »Related Stories

Putting a Face to San Diego's Homeless

Three shelter residents share their stories, hopes, and fears with writer Kelly Davis

21 Ultimate Road Trip Itineraries from San Diego

These getaways will take you through California, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, and Mexico

San Diego Date Ideas Every Couple Will Love

95 ways to explore the city with your partner—beyond just dinner and drinks!
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Most Popular

  1. Vote Now for San Diego's Best Restaurants 2019
    From pho to fries, you can choose San Diego's best eats and drinks in 99 categories
  2. Puesto's Next Top Taco
    Submit your best taco recipe for the chance to win a grand prize
  3. The Best Soup Dumplings in San Diego
    My hunt for the best xiao long bao in the city unearthed two surprising winners
  4. Behind the Brands 2019
  5. 21 Ultimate Road Trip Itineraries from San Diego
    These getaways will take you through California, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, and Mexico
  6. Win a Luxury Hotel Stay in Puerto Vallarta
    Soak up the sun during a three night stay at Garza Blanca Preserve Resort & Spa
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Promotions

Puesto's Next Top Taco

Submit your best taco recipe for the chance to win a grand prize

Not Your Grandma's Orthotics

New year, new – shoe? Staying on your feet for long hours at a time just got a whole lot more comfortable with Wiivv’s BASE custom insoles
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module
Edit Module

Connect With Us:

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Sponsored

Whale Watching Report from Hornblower for March 6–12

Whale watchers get their fill of gray whales, dolphins, and more

Shaping San Diego 2019

San Diego is a premier catalyst for innovation, creativity, and entrepreneurialism
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags