After four teenagers from the same high school committed suicide on the commuter rail tracks that run through Palo Alto, Calif., in just 6 months, parents set up a daily vigil at the offending crossing. When the train comes through—every half hour—there's a nervous pause in the chatting, coffee, and donated pizza to look up and down the tracks, just to make sure. They're there until the last train of the day, at 1am, to prevent "misuse of the tracks"—they never use the word suicide, to avoid romanticizing the deaths.
“We want the deaths to stop and we want people to know that if they just open their hearts and look around them, they'll find people who care,” the mother who started Track Watch tells NPR. For some, the vigil is a harrowing, if cathartic experience. One mother says she sleeps better if she takes the last shift. “I can go home and rest completely knowing there will be no more trains.”