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She was having one of the worst days of her life. A stranger in a passing car changed everything.

Not many people realize that even the "smallest" acts of kindness can leave a lasting impression on others.

She was having one of the worst days of her life. A stranger in a passing car changed everything.
Representative Cover Image Source: Pexels | Rachel Claire

Trigger warning: This story contains themes of suicide that some readers may find distressing.

Today, mental health struggles are among the most discussed topics on social media. Thanks to years of awareness campaigns and more people speaking out about their mental health battles, today we as a society are more in tune with how challenging it is to navigate these issues. However, many of us have yet to realize—and remember—that sometimes all it takes is a few kind words to change the life of someone close to giving up.

According to NPR, Trieste Belmont shared her story as part of the "My Unsung Hero" series from the Hidden Brain team, where people talk about an act of kindness that had a lasting impact on them. Belmont was going through some of the darkest days of her life back in 2014. She was struggling with depression, still reeling from a bad breakup and grieving her grandmother's death. At the time, she felt like nothing was going right in her life and was hanging onto life by a thread.

Image Source: Pexels | Andrea Piacquadio
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Andrea Piacquadio

Belmont was teaching a dance class at that time. She did not have a driver's license, so she depended on others to take her to work and back. One day, the person who was supposed to pick her up from work didn't show up, so she decided to walk back home instead. But she was left alone with terrifying thoughts and when she approached a high bridge, 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 recalled. "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."

Image Source: Pexels | Pixabay
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Pixabay

Heartbreakingly, Belmont was thinking of a dark way to escape from her pain. But right at that moment, a stranger in a car behind her shouted, "Don't jump." Little did the person know they quite literally saved a life. "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."

The incident shook her to her core and she decided to seek help. Thanks to her therapist, family and friends her mental health greatly improved. She did not forget the kind stranger in the car that night. "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 shared.

Her story reminds people how to appreciate the small joys of life that aren't really small and how acts of kindness can be more powerful than we realize. "Even if you see someone that has a cute outfit on, telling them might make their day," Belmont added. "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."

Image Source: Pexels | Helena Lopes
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Helena Lopes

If you are having thoughts about taking your own life or know of anyone who is in need of help, please contact The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-SUICIDE (784-2433)

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