Sam was on his way to work as a firefighter when he noticed someone might need help. Recalling the Small Talk Saves Lives campaign, Sam trusted his instincts and started a conversation.
"In January 2020, I was on my way to work at the fire station. It was a dark winter’s evening. My route takes me on busy roads, and I noticed a man and thought something wasn’t quite right.
"'That’s odd’ I mused, quickly followed by ‘it’s probably nothing’. The same thought I’m certain other passing motorists had as they continued on their journeys. I kept driving and felt I needed to do something but wasn’t sure exactly what. I turned my car around and slowly drove back to see if he was still there.
It's a human thing – you can pick up when something isn’t right.
"Something wasn’t right, I was sure of it. He looked out of place for the weather and time of day. I parked my car a short distance away and as I approached, I was nervous. What do you say to someone in this situation? What if he told me to get lost? I knew I had to check. If he had a legitimate reason for being there, at least I could have peace of mind and get to work without wondering. I remembered a video I’d seen on Facebook for a campaign called Small Talk Saves Lives.
"Sometimes you just need someone to break your thought process with everyday talk – I’ve been there myself and can empathise with being in that state of mind. You just want someone to say anything to snap you out of a trance almost. I started by asking him his name. At first, he was a bit hesitant to talk. I persisted and shared my name and told him I was on my way to work and could give him a lift to the fire station to show him the trucks.
"I wanted to move him away from the space we were in, so we drove to the fire station. My colleague put the kettle on for our guest in the kitchen. Between us we were able to support him whilst we waited for the emergency service.
I thought if it could help one person know how to respond, I’d share my experience.
"I think the ‘Small Talk Saves Lives’ campaign is important to equip people. The campaign is simple, and you don’t have to overthink what to do, or to say the right thing – it’s just chatting to people to make sure they are OK. If it prompts people to look around them, it’s a good thing."