Emotional moment woman who tried to jump in front of a train embraces the driver who saved her life as pair meet for the first time
- Liv Pontin was about to kill herself when Ashley John scared her into stopping
- Mr John – who had just started the job – got off his train and spoke to her about it
- She said: ‘He saved somebody’s life. He deserves all the credit in the world’
- They have met for the first time since her suicide attempt in March 2017
This is the extraordinary moment a woman who tried to jump in front of a train was reunited with the driver who saved her life.
Liv Pontin was about to throw herself on the tracks when Ashley John scared her into changing her mind by repeatedly sounding his horn while entering a station close to London.
Mr John, who was only in his second day in the job, got off the commuter train and spent ten minutes on the platform reassuring her and asking why she felt so low, convincing her not to take her own life.
Now they have met for the first time since then and embraced on the platform of Bedford Station in a special feature for the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire show.
Describing their emotional meeting Liv said today: ‘I was in crisis that night but he was the one who saved somebody’s life. He deserves all the credit in the world so it was just nice to get a hug from him’.
Liv Pontin hugs train driver Ashley John – the man she credits with saving her life when she wanted to end it all
Ashley used his horn – scaring her into not taking the final step and jumping in front of his London-bound train
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Liv is turning her life around and is helping police with mental health awareness work and talking about her own suicide bid to support others battling the same thoughts.
Miss Pontin had been battling mental health problems and decided that March 27 2017 was ‘going to be the last day of my life’.
She had been unable to work because of her fragile state and ‘came to the conclusion that I had no future because if I couldn’t work I wasn’t useful to anyone’.
Liv hadn’t eaten and said she felt ‘drained and exhausted’ and ‘lost all fight’.
She wrote two suicide notes – the first one was to her father ‘telling him how wonderful he is’.
Liv said she had struggled to hold down a job and felt that she ‘wasn’t useful to anyone’
Ashley saw her face and then she vanished – initially he was not sure if he had hit and killed her
The second, which she left in her coat pocket, was one of apology to the train driver she believed would kill her – begging them ‘not to be angry with her’.
Ashley, a former firefighter, told the vulnerable woman he had seen suicides in his previous job and convinced her not to consider it again
She then walked to her local station and waited for the next train to come.
As she prepared to jump the hero driver said: ‘I suddenly saw her face. And I hit my horn, quickly’.
Liv said: ‘That was probably what hit my brain – and I didn’t take that final step’ – and tried to flee the station.
But despite carrying a train full of passengers Ashley stopped on the platform and ran after her.
He said: ‘I didn’t know if I had hit her – but then I saw her walking along the platform. I called after her: “Are you ok?” She turned around and we started having a conversation’.
Explaining her state of mind Liv said: ‘I just remember him trying to reassure me because I was so scared. He tried to find out why and talked to me about my dad and said he had a son.
‘He said he had been a firefighter and said he had seen it from the other side and the impact it has.
‘He was so calm and so caring. And that’s the thing that makes the biggest difference when you are facing a crisis. On that night he obviously saved my life’.
The strangers spent ten minutes chatting about her state of mind and the struggles she faced but have not spoken or seen eachother since that night until now.
Miss Pontin met him at Bedford, where he is a Thameslink driver.
At their emotional meeting he told her: ‘It’s so good to meet you again – I’m so glad you’ve got somewhere’.
The Victoria Derbyshire programme’s Andy Smythe reunited them. See the full film here.
- If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this article then you can call the Samaritans on 116 123, alternatively you can visit the website at by clicking here.
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