Loving Speech Saves Lives

In March 2005, officer Kevin Briggs employed loving speech and compassionate listening to lure twenty-two year old Kevin Berthia off of the Golden Gate Bridge railing. 

During an hour of thoughtful counseling atop the 746 foot bridge, Briggs heard Kevin’s troubles with an open heart and offered alternatives to suicide. "He never made me feel guilty for being in the situation I was in," Berthia told the AP

In May 2013, a contented Kevin, now married with two kids, presented officer Briggs with an award for public service. The award represents hundreds of lives officer Briggs has saved over his twenty-year career with the California Highway Patrol. 

The humble officer explains, "we really do try to help the people out there. Each situation is independent of the other. I just try to get to the heart of the matter in each case, and I would expect my officers to do the same."

Brigg’s ability to listen and speak with his heart empowers him to save lives. An open heart like Brigg’s doesn’t judge or condemn, argue or humiliate. It cradles the feelings of another and offers space for open expression.

Each of us has the seeds of compassionate listening and loving speech within. If we nurture them as Briggs has done, we too can transform the suffering in and around us. In this three-minute interview with Oprah, Thich Nhat Hanh shows us, step-by-step, how




What a beautiful story and video. It is amazing the power of not just communication but also straight out care for another person. As a therapist, I love hearing this...it reminds me why I do what I do, even on the days I'm tired or caught up in my own life. Thanks for the reminder :)