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A comment shouted from a stranger in a passing car saved her life

Trieste Belmont believes small kindnesses can be more powerful than we realize.
Trieste Belmont
Trieste Belmont believes small kindnesses can be more powerful than we realize.

The following story includes references to suicide.

This story is part of the My Unsung Hero series, from the Hidden Brain team, about people whose kindness left a lasting impression on someone else.


In 2014, Trieste Belmont was struggling with depression. She had just gone through a breakup and was grieving her grandmother, who had recently passed away.

It felt like nothing was going right. Around this time, Belmont was teaching a dance class. She didn't have a driver's license and depended on friends and family to give her rides to and from work. But one day, her ride didn't show up.

"I waited for about an hour and they never came. So, I decided to just walk home," Belmont said.

The route that she took home crossed a high bridge. When she got there, she decided to stop walking.

"I was just having one of the worst days of my life. And I was looking down at all the cars, just feeling so useless and like such a burden to everyone in my life that I decided that this was the time and I needed to end my life," Belmont remembered.

"I was sobbing and crying and working up the courage to just go through with it, because I knew at that moment that it was going to make everyone's lives better."

But right as she was in one of her darkest moments, a person in a car behind her shouted, "Don't jump."

"Those words just changed everything for me," she remembered. "Having a stranger care about me in my darkest time made it so that I didn't jump, and it saved my life."

Soon after that experience, Belmont decided to seek out support. With the help of her therapist, family and friends, her mental health has since greatly improved. But that moment still resonates as the catalyst for her life moving in a whole new direction.

"Something that I realized is that even if something's not a huge moment in your life, just the little, small gestures that you can make for other people really do make a difference," Belmont said.

Small kindnesses, she believes, can be more powerful than we realize.

"Even if you see someone that has a cute outfit on, telling them might make their day. They might be super depressed and worried about the way they look. But if you come in and you give them a small little compliment, it could change everything for them."

If you or someone you know is in crisis, call or text 9-8-8 for help.

My Unsung Hero is also a podcast — new episodes are released every Tuesday. To share the story of your unsung hero with the Hidden Brain team, record a voice memo on your phone and send it to myunsunghero@hiddenbrain.org.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Laura Kwerel
Autumn Barnes