HEROIC ACT: Tanikka Pinnix and Layla Gooden save woman’s life by talking her off the Homestead Grays Bridge

February 24, 2021, was proclaimed “Tanikka Pinnix and Layla Gooden Day” in the City of Pittsburgh, and with good reason.

But if you ask this mother/daughter duo, they were just doing what anyone should—or better yet, would—do.

On the morning of Jan. 28, a series of unpredictable detours resulted in a mother, Pinnix, and daughter, Gooden, from West Mifflin, driving over the Homestead Grays Bridge and ultimately saving the life of a stranger.

Pinnix and Layla Gooden spotted a woman in distress, not wearing a coat, with one leg up on the bridge railing. They quickly pulled their vehicle over and managed to calmly convince the woman to come down to safety, all before emergency services personnel had arrived at the scene, according to a release from the City of Pittsburgh.

Last Wednesday, Feb. 24, in Council Chambers, Public Safety Director Wendell Hissrich, on behalf of Mayor Bill Peduto and City Council, proclaimed it as their day, recognizing them as outstanding citizens who undoubtedly prevented a tragedy through their kindness and empathy.

Hissrich was on the bridge that day, along with Bureau of Emergency Medical Services Division Chief Richard Linn and District Chief Justin Sypolt, to witness the positive outcome, thanks to the selfless actions of Pinnix and Gooden.

“I have responded to well over a dozen of these types of incidents and most don’t turn out well for the victim. It is comforting to know that by your work, that this one, this incident, even though it was a personal tragedy for the individual, that stranger that you saved continues to be able to live today and receive the help that she needs,” said Hissrich, at the socially-distanced ceremony.

Sypolt honored the women and thanked them on behalf of the city’s Public Safety and EMS bureaus.

“I know that on that day you probably didn’t wake up thinking that today’s the day I’m going to change the world, but due to a series of unpredictable events, change the world you did. Because of what you did that day, another person is walking amongst us. I am incredibly grateful to have been there with you both that day, and to be with you now.”

Upon being honored, Pinnix said: “We should remember the greatest commandment of all, which is to love one another. And when I saw the woman on the bridge that day, I saw my own child. I felt every emotion as though that were my own flesh and blood.”

TANIKKA PINNIX, second from right, with her daughter, Layla Gooden, second from left. The mother-daughter team heroically spotted a woman on the Homestead Grays Bridge who was in distress, and convinced the woman to come down to safety. Pinnix and Gooden were honored by the City of Pittsburgh, Feb. 24.


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