In 2016 we lost a champion boxer, activist, and all-around exceptional human being Muhammad Ali. On what would have been his 75th birthday on January 17th, a clip of Muhammad Ali has begun circulating again and we cannot think of a better clip to commemorate his legacy.
It is footage of Ali talking a man down from jumping out of the window of a building to his death. Muhammad was always known to have a strong moral compass and a strong motivation to do the right thing, so to people that know him this clip will not come as a surprise.
The LA Times reported that in January of 1981, Ali witnessed a suicidal man about to take his life by jumping out of the ninth floor window of a Miracle Mile office building. Ali heard about the situation while he was in the area and wanted to help.
An LAPD spokesperson said: “Ali did it all. He went up there and he talked to the guy until he came down. A police psychologist and a chaplain had tried – but Ali got it done.” The man was not only suicidal, but also struggling with mental health issues that compounded the situation because it was clear he was not fully cognizant of where he was or what he was doing.
The LAPD spokesperson explained: “The man was badly disturbed. Part of the time he was yelling that he was ‘crazy’ and ‘no good’ part of the time, he seemed to think he was in Vietnam – with the Viet Cong coming at him. Every time someone got close the guy would stand up on the outer ledge beside the fire escape, or dangle his feet over. We were afraid to use a net or anything.”
A crowd had obviously gathered underneath the window due to all the commotion and began to yell and chat at the man. Meanwhile, the police had closed the street off. The situation was getting desperate as law enforcement ran out of options when Ali showed up in a Rolls Royce. One of Ali’s people had reached out to the LAPD to offer his help. How many other athletes would do something like this?
Ali raced to the ninth floor and told the troubled man: “You’re my brother…I love you and I couldn’t lie to you. You got to listen. I want you to come home with me, meet some friends of mine…” After twenty harrowing minutes of Ali talking to him, the man opened the fire escape so Ali could reach and Ali pulled him to safety. Ali later told the Reading Eagle: “I told him he wasn’t a nobody. He saw me weeping and he couldn’t believe I was really doing that, that I cared that much about him.” If you think this was all for show, think again. Ali met with the man’s family, bought him new clothes, and set him up with a job. A truly exemplary human being.