Kim and Carol's story
Mum and daughter, Carol and Kim, both work as train managers for GWR. They have both used small talk to save a life. Kim received an award from GWR for a life-saving intervention. Carol was on her way to work when she saw someone at the side of the road who needed help and her actions eventually led them to safety.
"As a train manager, my main role is around the safety of the train. I’m always moving throughout the train checking if everyone is OK. Customer service is the most important thing for me. I love chatting to people.
"The intervention last year and the young woman I saved will always stay with me – I’ll never ever forget her. I was at work one day and I saw a young woman sat with her legs crunched up and I noticed she looked really upset. I asked her if she had a ticket, but she completely ignored me. It was during the pandemic, so I asked if I was OK to sit down next to her and I asked her where she was travelling to. She told me she was going away because she wanted to kill herself. I knew I just had to keep talking to her and keep her with me so she was safe and wouldn’t try to run off the train and harm herself at the next stop. I asked her name and we talked about her job. She told me it wasn’t the first time that week that she’d tried to end her life.
"When we reached the next station, I needed to open and close the doors for the passengers. At that point I made a call to our control centre and they arranged for British Transport Police officers to come and see her. I continued to chat to her and didn’t leave her side once.
"I feel so strongly about encouraging other train crews to learn and do Samaritans’ Managing Suicidal Contacts training. I want to raise awareness for others who need support too – other people’s happiness is really important to me.
GWR gave me a Gold Award in September last year, which I was really proud of.
"I’ve worked on the railway for 23 years. I’ve been with GWR as a train manager for my entire career, the same role as my daughter Kim.
"We do an introduction to suicide prevention as part of our GWR safety training and I know Kim found the Samaritans course helpful. I know to look out for certain behaviours and the main message I remember is ‘if you’re not sure, go and ask anyway - just talk to people’, which is exactly what came to mind when it happened to me, and I saw someone I thought needed help.
"It was early in the morning, and I was driving to work. The strange thing is that I chose to go a different route to work. I caught something out the corner of my eye and my brain registered that it was a person that looked like they were going to take their life. I left the car running and ran up to them.
"I started talking before I got close and said, 'please talk to me for a bit.' I told them I was going to come closer so I didn’t have to talk so loudly but that I wouldn’t touch them. I just kept asking them if that was alright.
"Whilst we waited for the police to arrive, I just kept talking and asked them if they’d come and sit with me. After about 45 minutes, they did. I just kept asking questions, trying to distract them.
"The police turned up, but I didn’t want to just walk away, so I gave them my address and said if you feel like this again, come and see me. About six weeks later, I had the opportunity to meet with the person I had helped. There were so many reasons I shouldn’t have been there that day, when I told them that they loved it, as they’re a big believer in universal interventions. I was there for a reason, to help them. I feel so proud and happy they’re ok."