Six years ago, Jonny Benjamin, who'd recently been diagnosed with chronic schizoaffective disorder, tried to kill himself by jumping off Waterloo Bridge in London. A stranger walking by stopped and spoke with him for a half hour, telling him that "things would get better" and offering to buy him a cup of coffee. Eventually, the man convinced Benjamin not to jump.
Two weeks ago, Benjamin, who now works for mental health related charities, decided to find the stranger who saved his life. All he to go on was a vague physical description and a nickname—"Mike"—that he'd given the man.
Partnering with the Rethink Mental Illness charity, Benjamin took his "Find Mike" campaign to Twitter and Facebook; with the help of a few celebrities like Stephen Fry and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, word quickly spread.
Two days after the campaign started, Neil Laybourn's fiancée saw the story on Facebook. She immediately recognized the story and knew her fiancé was "Mike."
"I couldn't believe it when I saw the campaign. I got in touch straight away," Laybourn told the Mirror UK. "I was so pleased to see how well Jonny was doing. I had thought about him over the years and had always hoped he was okay."
Yesterday, the two reunited. From the Telegraph:
Benjamin admits that he was "petrified" about the encounter, but Laybourn was excited. Their hug lasted for some time; so, too, did the talking – despite meeting in a pub, the two never even got around to having a drink.
"I have thought about him a lot for the last six years," says Benjamin. "It was a pivotal moment in helping me to get better. I've always wanted to say 'thank you'."
And they have plans to stay in touch. "We really got on," Benjamin told the Telegraph. "We're finally going to have that coffee."