LEHI, Utah (ABC4) – A Lehi man stopped someone from jumping off an I-15 overpass. Over a year later, he says saving a life changed his own.
He says when it happened, he thought about his children.
“I was thinking, ‘My kids are going to see this,’” Joe Tuia’ana said. “I cannot let my kids watch this happen. They’ll never forget this.”
In January 2022, Tuia’ana and his daughters were driving to a basketball game in Lehi, when they saw a man standing on a freeway overpass on I-15. He was about to jump off into oncoming traffic. Joe says he pulled over and immediately got out of the car.
“I was overwhelmed with fear and I said a quick little prayer,” he said. “The only thing I could think of to say was, ‘I love you, bro.’”
Joe stood up on the fence, grabbed the man by his hoodie, and pulled him down to safety.
“I just held him like he was one of my kids,” he said.
Joe says it was a life-changing moment that led to a forever friendship.
“Now he’s like my little brother. I check in with him every other week,” Joe said. “I just text him, ‘I love you, bro.’”
Those 4 words, Joe says, have stuck with him. Now, over a year later, Joe created the “I Love You, Bro” Project, a platform focused on talking about men’s mental health.
“For whatever reason there’s a huge stigma around men’s mental health,” he said. “I’ll be the face of that guy who cries all the time.”
The project works to help men get connected with mental health professionals. Joe says if you deal with mental health struggles, getting help might seem hard, but it’s worth it.
“It shouldn’t have to get to the point where it’s on an overpass,” Joe said. “If it takes an I love you sis project, if it takes an I love you auntie project, I’ll make a project for everybody.”