ST. PAUL, Minn. - What does it take to save a life? Mikael Tekeste would argue that it all depends on your attitude.
Tekeste was among several citizens and officers recognized for their courage and life-saving heroics on Monday, during a special ceremony held by the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office.
"I look back, she's hanging over there,” Tekeste said, pointing to a spot on the Wabasha Street Bridge in St. Paul where she discovered a suicidal woman in August. "I was like, 'What are you doing?' She tells me, 'Tell my family I love them. I can't live anymore.'"
Tekeste didn’t like that message, so he decided to change it.
"I told her there is always a solution to everything. You don't have to kill yourself," Tekeste said. "Even if she make mistakes, she can fix her mistakes."
That message of perseverance is one Tekeste has been dispensing for years at his business, the Red Sea Market, which is located just two blocks from the Wabasha Street Bridge.
As a small business owner who emigrated to the United States from Eritrea years ago, he says a positive attitude has always helped him overcome setbacks like vandalism and shoplifting.
"It's all about your attitude. You don't like something, change it,” Tekeste said.
A sign with that very message hangs inside his business, and now an award for courage will hang alongside it.
"I'm going to hang it here and I'm going to tell people, do the right thing,” he said. “We're all here together you know?"
Tekeste says the woman he helped was taken to the hospital and entered into treatment. He says he hopes to see her again one day but knows that he did his best regardless.