Who knew that by inviting someone for a cup of tea can change their outlook in life?
This is the story of former Navy officer Don Ritchie, who lives in The Gap, a place with a sad history of suicides in New South Wales, Australia. His house is situated just across the notorious spot and he has successfully managed to prevent around 400 suicides in the area by simply offering kindness.
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For the last 50 years, Don has made it a daily habit to check the cliff for people contemplating suicide. When he does, he makes sure to approach them and offer a cup of tea, which has made a huge impact on many people’s decisions.
“You can’t just sit there and watch them,” Don said. “You gotta try and save them. It’s pretty simple.”
This angel, however, returned to heaven when he passed away in May 2012. But his story lives on with many people who have remained grateful for his help.
Don may not be always successful in all occasions, for instance he was not able to save the life of Dianna Gaddin‘s daughter who took her life in the cliff. But Dianna has nothing but love for the “Angel of the Gap.”
“He’s an angel. Most people would be too afraid to do anything and would probably sooner turn away and run away. But he had the courage and the charisma and the care and the magnetism to reach people who were coming to the end of their tether,” she said of Don.
Don was awarded with the Medal of the Order of Australia in 2009. He continues to be one of the bravest heroes who sought out to help people without asking anything in return.