On a January morning six years ago, Jonny Benjamin walked halfway across the Waterloo Bridge, in London, stepped to the edge, and prepared to jump. Benjamin, who was then twenty, had just been given a diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder; he felt that all the days ahead were doomed. As he was about to leap from the bridge’s walkway, a stranger approached him, and began to talk. The man, who was about the same age, asked Benjamin to join him for a cup of coffee. “It’ll get better, mate,” the stranger said. “You will get better.”
Benjamin didn’t jump. As the years went on, he forgot the name of the man who had persuaded him to go on living. This January, to help raise awareness of mental-health issues, Benjamin—with the support of celebrities like Stephen Fry, Boy George, and David Cameron—launched a social-media campaign to find the man he had nicknamed Mike. “I didn’t expect to find him,” Benjamin told the Guardian. “It felt like looking for a needle in a haystack. I couldn’t remember anything about him.” But millions of people shared the story online; the hashtag “FindMike” was among Twitter’s trending keywords in the United Kingdom and as far afield as South Africa, Australia, and Canada. The Good Samaritan’s girlfriend saw the plea on Facebook and encouraged her boyfriend to go public. He did, and the two men met once again—this time with a hug.