Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Muhammad Ali's crumb of comfort

It happened in Los Angeles, CA, on January 19, 1981. A young man (never identified) was on the 9th floor ledge of an office building, threatening to jump. Spectators on the ground urged the distraught 21-year-old man to jump, and police and a chaplain were trying unsuccessfully to talk him down when Ali's public relations manager, Howard Bingham, came on the scene. He called Ali and told him "there's a guy here on a building a block from your house." Four minutes later, Ali comes driving up the wrong side of the street in his Rolls-Royce with his lights blinking. As shown here, he leaned out the window and the man yelled, "It's really you!"

                                                                                                                   Bettmann/Getty Images
Ali told the man, "You're my brother. I love you and wouldn't lie to you. You got to listen. I want you to come home with me and meet some friends of mine." After half-an-hour, Ali put his arms around the man's shoulders and led him back to safety. When they emerged from the building, they ignored cheers and drove away in Ali's Rolls-Royce to a police station. Los Angeles police gave Ali credit for talking the man down. A police spokesman said, "No doubt about it. Ali saved that man's life."

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