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St. Paul shop owner, Eritrean brave man Mike Tekeste recognized for saving bridge jumper

Mike Tekeste held the woman’s hands for 10 minutes as her body dangled off the side of the Wabasha Street Bridge in downtown St. Paul one morning last August. She begged him to let go. She said she wanted to die. “If

Mike Tekeste held the woman’s hands for 10 minutes as her body dangled off the side of the Wabasha Street Bridge in downtown St. Paul one morning last August.

She begged him to let go. She said she wanted to die.

“If you love your family, you don’t have to do this,” Tekeste told her. Soon, Ramsey County sheriff’s deputies arrived and helped Tekeste lift her over the railing.

On Monday, Tekeste will receive the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Award for Excellence for his lifesaving work. Deputies Tom Maher, James Moeschter and Tony Gutzwiller also will receive awards for aiding the effort.

On most workdays, Tekeste parks his vehicle right outside the Red Sea Market, a convenience store he owns on Wabasha Street across from the Ramsey County’s attorney’s office. But the weather was especially nice on Aug. 9, so he decided to park on the other side of the bridge and walk to his market.

Tekeste said he saw a piece of luggage as he crossed the bridge. He then looked over and saw a woman hanging from the railing. She told him to tell her family that she loved them, he said.

Tekeste grabbed her hands and talked and pleaded with her as he shouted for help. Another man stopped and took one of the woman’s hands when Tekeste’s began to slip. Another passerby called 911. The deputies arrived and helped lift her back over the railing.

Many of Tekeste’s customers have heard the story and are not surprised by it.

“It’s not shocking,” said Dan Sorensen, who has visited Tekeste’s store almost every workday for nearly a decade. “He’s a good guy.”

Tekeste has owned and operated the Red Sea Market for 11 years. His shelves are lined with everything from candy and chips to laundry detergent and greeting cards. His regulars stop in primarily for cigarettes or caffeine fixes.

Tekeste smiles and greets customers, an eclectic mix of blue-collar workers, city employees and downtown dwellers.

“Most people are nice,” he said. “A few people always have problems, and those people aren’t going anywhere.”

Earlier this month, someone kicked his store window and shattered it. Video surveillance footage on his phone shows people stealing candy bars and bags of chips by shoving them down their pants.

But it didn’t spoil Tekeste’s demeanor. He still makes small talk with his customers and blasts ’80s Billy Ocean tracks from his computer, often while dancing behind the counter.

“If you don’t like something, change it,” a sign near his register reads. “If you can’t change it. Change your attitude. Don’t complain.”

Along with those who saved the bridge jumper, Ramsey County Park and Recreation lifeguards Mason Krelitz, Yudeli Perez, Daniel Rapartz and Nick Schlecht will also be honored Monday by the sheriff’s office after saving a man who was assaulted July 30 by three other men near Lake McCarrons in Roseville.

Deputy Jason Mikle will also receive a lifesaving award for helping a man in a motorcycle accident.



Review overview
  • Papillon October 17, 2016

    Dear Mike,

    Life sure enough is full of mysteries where we all have to search for it as it gives us a purpose in an otherwise cruel world. I say you have found your purpose in life, that is, you came to this world precisely for that moment. You’re meant to cross paths with the lady, to be there in her darkest moment, to pull her up not only physically but to show her that the sun will always rise and tomorrow is a new day a new life and a new experience. God bless you brother!

  • k.tewolde October 17, 2016

    The story is symbolic in nature,Eritrea needs desperately a good man like Mike to haul her to safety from the terrestrial inferno she is in.It is a good omen.

  • Eyob Bereket October 18, 2016 aka, what is the big news about this as it is every day normal thing in the USA. must be running out of nay Hassot were/zena with Amanuel Eyasu dying himself soon in England.
    Wedi Afom lion of Nakfa will live longer to see that you all die before him just like with Meles Zenawi and other losers. You are all bunch of hopeless losers with no future or hope in your sad lives.

  • Haile stupid Drue October 18, 2016

    Eyob you are right asenna run out of news so Amanuel eyasu have to report somthing atherwise he will lose his website &he know there are,some dumass stupid fllowers on his website want to hear any thing

  • Abreha October 19, 2016

    Dear Mike, as Tewolde pointed out Eritrea needs many brave and generous people like you.
    Eritrea had a great culture of helping each other. Unfortunately the dictator is destroyong this quickly.

    • Yohannes October 19, 2016

      I concur with your assessment, Dictators/tyrants/totalitarian rulers/men with big guns have been tearing to pieces the great social values, customs, and most importantly the common sense and civility of every society they rule/suppress/oppress. I would like to use the phrase from the democratic candidate Secretary Hillary Clinton to describe Eritreans inside and outside Eritrea, who support the notorious monster and bully of Eritrea and it’s cruel regime, they are simply “A basket of deplorables”.

      • k.tewolde October 20, 2016

        Amen! Yohannes, the most precisely fitting name of our time from the first female President of the mightiest nation in the world.That is simply who they are-BOD!.

  • Yonas Fesehazion October 22, 2016

    A very exemplary and human thing to do Mike, Keep up the good work.