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

San Diego's Top Doctors 2018

Our annual list of 717 physicians in 88 specialties, plus five physicians open up about the emotional burdens of their fields

'San Diego Magazine' turns 70 Years Old

We toast to our birthday with a look back at our favorite covers through the decades

2018-2019 San Diego Arts Preview

54 plays, concerts, ballets, and exhibits you need to see this upcoming season, and more
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Most Popular

  1. Best of San Diego Party 2018
  2. The Best of San Diego 2018
    We crown 103 winners in food, shopping, fitness, kids’ activities, and more
  3. Ten Pet Friendly Palm Springs Restaurants
    Ten Pet Friendly Palm Springs Restaurants
  4. Javier Plascencia Eyes Barrio Logan
    The award-winning chef is all over Mexico, but looks to make a San Diego comeback
  5. A Sneak Peek at ‘The Heart of Rock & Roll’
    The Old Globe’s newest world-premiere musical promises a familiar soundtrack and all the good feels of an ’80s rom-com
  6. What San Diego Women Want
    53 working women share their compelling stories on navigating pay equity, the baby penalty, #MeToo, and more
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Promotions

Vote Now for Your Orangetheory Winner!

Winners will be announced at our Sweat event on May 12

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

Ten Pet Friendly Palm Springs Restaurants

Ten Pet Friendly Palm Springs Restaurants

AquaVie: 10 Reasons It’s Downtown’s Best Kept Secret

The best workout and spa getaway around? It’s actually right underneath your nose.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags