Accompanied by her 5-month old baby, Lily, Emilie Stevens was honored by the city of Vancouver this week for her heroic actions last summer when she was seven months pregnant.
On that June day, Stevens, baby bump and all, was walking home from work at a Vancouver hospital. Her route included passing over the Granville Street Bridge, where she and several others noticed a woman in her early 20’s sitting on the sidewalk with her back to the railing.
Sensing something was amiss, Stevens spoke to the woman and found out she was recently discharged from the hospital and intent on jumping off the bridge.
Stevens called 911 and police were quick to arrive at the bridge. But they mistook another woman in similar clothing for the woman who spoke to Stevens. That delay gave the woman the time to leap off the bridge, only to have Stevens grab her and hold on tight.
“I don’t remember doing it. I just grabbed her and held on and luckily (the police) were fairly close,” recalls Stevens. “I don’t know what I was thinking. I don’t know if it is something that every pregnant woman would do, putting themselves in that situation but I just couldn’t walk away.”
Even with Stevens holding on, the woman was halfway over the bridge’s railing. But she was able to hang on long enough for police to intervene. Afterward, she gave pre-natal Lily part of the credit.
“I say that Lily here was my counterbalance,” explains Stevens. “I was a bit heavier than usual and had a different center of gravity than I usually would.”
Fittingly, Lily was present earlier this week when Stevens was publicly commended by Vancouver’s mayor and police chief for her actions. Also on hand was Stevens’ husband, Bradley Coe, who was not at all surprised by his wife’s heroic act.
“In the end, that’s just what Emily is like. I would be surprised if she did anything else,” said Coe. “Hopefully, Lily takes after her mom on that.”