A.J. Castle may have saved the life of a suicidal man Monday morning. Or at the very least, his pizza may have.
"I've been here for nine years and nothing like this has ever happened," Castle said. "But I'm not going to take credit for what happened. I was just doing my job."
Just before 7 a.m. Monday morning, a man parked his car on the southbound side of the Ravenel Bridge in South Carolina, and turned on his hazard lights. He exited the car, crossed over the barrier, and began to pace back and forth, threatening to jump into the Cooper River below, police said.
"[He's] holding onto the cable looking like [he's] getting ready to jump," said one of the dozen people who called 9-1-1. "There's no other reason for him to be there."
Several people reported the man wearing a green shirt and talking on his cell phone as he paced back and forth.
Traffic back-ups stretched for more than a mile, due to the suicide attempt and a car wreck that happened simultaneously at another point of departure between Charleston and Mount Pleasant. The pile-up resulted in minor injuries, but crews weren't able to clear the wreckage until 10:44 a.m., Charleston police spokesman Charles Francis said.
Police described the man as "despondent," though they would not reveal his name, age, or the cause of his despondency.
At 11:45 a.m., nearly five hours after the ordeal began, police shut down the entire span of the bridge. The man's body also began to shut down. He was dehydrated and hungry.
Officers had called in the pizza order around 10:15 a.m., according to The Post and Courier, and picked up the pie within minutes, as manager A.J. Castle hustled to churn out the soon-to-be life-sustaining meal despite his restaurant not having been open yet.
Officers picked up the pizza free of charge, Castle said. He saw the opportunity as a way to reciprocate good faith.
"I figured he was doing a good deed," he said. "I might as well do him a good deed as well."
After several tense moments during the next 15 minutes, the man was captured and later taken to Medical University Hospital for treatment, Mount Pleasant Police Maj. Stan Gragg said. "It just so happened he was taken into custody shortly after being provided pizza."