Boss’s Act of Kindness Prevents a Suicide


Tim Sanders is a leadership coach and former Chief Solutions Officer at Yahoo!. Sanders advises all of his employees to reach out to their workers and subordinates to show their appreciation for their work. He often tells the story of how he did just that, speaking to his staff individually, giving them positive feedback on their performance, and telling them that he appreciated their efforts. Sanders recalls telling one specific man how glad he was that the man come into his life.

After Sanders visited with his team, he was shocked when that man turned up a few days later and gave him an expensive gift, an X-Box console. As it turns out, this employee had purchased the X-Box by pawning a revolver that he had intended to use to kill himself. After hearing the small words of praise from his boss, the man decided to keep living and seek help for his depression. Just a few kind words were all it took to help him out of his suicidal funk.

“Sometimes people just need people,” Sanders said




  1. Sometimes it is so easy for us to forget how much the words that come out of our mouths can affect people. The childhood saying ‘Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.’ is a lie. Although it’s a nice reminder to us not to take negativity to heart, it doesn’t change the fact that simple words can save a life… or end one. As easily as they can lift someone out of depression and despair, they can send someone there, too.

    We should all remind ourselves daily that words can and do hurt, and make a concentrated effort to pay closer attention to what comes out of our mouths.


    1. Absolutely agreed.

      I think it would be beneficial to many, if mindfulness of speech was a more wide-spread/understood/practiced thing. Words said today, that wound, can haunt someone for the rest of their life. Likewise, words of understanding and kindness can uplift and give comfort to others across an extended period of time.

      In case it’s of interest, here is a previous post we wrote about ‘listening’ and the next chapter in this series is on ‘speaking’…


  2. There was a documentary about suicides off the Golden Gate Bridge, and the lone survivor (I think) of a jump was saying that when he was pondering his leap on the bridge, everyone ignored him. He had hoped that someone would reach out to him, even with a smile. When no one did, he decided his life was already over. He just had to make it official by jumping. This is the same guy who has been quoted as saying that as soon as he started the leap, he regretted it and knew it was a mistake, Kindness would have gone a long way to easing his pain.


    1. Hi Joshua,

      To think that in a moment of such utter desolation he was ‘ignored’ makes me very sad. I do not say this from a position of being in some way ‘superior’ or ‘right’, but how can anyone ignore someone that is in such a desperate need of help?


  3. Its funny how we say, ‘sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me’, and yet so often we are hurt by the very same.
    The bible even talks about how much power there is in the words we speak…
    That aside, our words are powerful. One thing I remember from my childhood.
    “They never get old, they always seem new.
    Those 3 little words, ‘Please’ & ‘Thank You’.” ๐Ÿ™‚


  4. many more people need to be as caring and share heart speak with fellow travelers on this journey we call Life. It is more important than a word can describe, and the life changing affect is a blessing from God. Thank you for posting this โ™ฅ Yours is a beautiful blog of amazing energy. Namaste’


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