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Read a heartbreaking Reddit post about homelessness in Minnesota's unforgiving winter

The woman can't stop thinking about what she could (or should) have done.

The woman can't stop thinking about what she could (or should) have done.

 The "Confession" thread on Reddit takes all kinds.

"Admit your wrongdoing," reads the prompt, opening the door for stories that can be funny, wistful, embarrassing, or all three. 

Or tragic. That's the only way to describe a post tagged "Remorse" that appeared there earlier this week. Set somewhere in Minnesota, it tells a haunting story of a good person's brush with a man she couldn't save.

The writer tells of being a "very close friend" to a homeless man, and bumping into him one recent night in a coffee shop. The man she'd known five years was drunk that night, and was "so scared" he would die of exposure this winter. Shelters were filling up, he told her.

In hindsight, she writes, she could've realized that the church she'd be attending later that night might function as a different sort of shelter, where perhaps the man could find someone to offer some more lasting help. 

"But the smell was horrible and he got more touchy than usual and I was just so uncomfortable I couldn't think of anything else until I left," she writes. "I left, and I kept having to excuse myself throughout the event because I couldn't get myself to stop crying."

And soon it might be you who feels like tearing up, for the anonymous woman's story comes to an awful,  predictable ending. 

It quickly becomes clear why people bring their stories to this subReddit, as a number of commenters quickly tell the woman her coffee shop experience cannot be solely to blame for the fate of this man, who at age 54, was undoubtedly let down by a lot of people -- not to mention whole systems of society and government.

A 2012 study estimated Minnesota could have as many as 10,000 people affected by chronic homelessness. Should you find yourself in a similar situation as this young woman, or see a homeless person at risk during these wicked months, consider these resources from the Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless, or these, from the Streetworks partners who operate throughout the Twin Cities metro. 

In an emergency, there's always 911.

Read the woman's full confession below.

I was in a coffee shop near a church that I was going to an event at later. I noticed him across the room, went over there, and we started talking. He was so scared and a little drunk (there's a TON of bars just on that same block) and truly believed that he'd die this winter because all the shelters close enough were full. I didn't even think of the idea to just bring him to the church with me a couple hours from then. Someone might've been able to help him there.
But the smell was horrible and he got more touchy than usual and I was just so uncomfortable I couldn't think of anything else until I left. I left, and I kept having to excuse myself throughout the event because I couldn't get myself to stop crying. I wasn't even concerned about being uncomfortable at that point though. His worries were too believable and I knew him to generally be a good person at heart.
I knew he would never intentionally hurt me and I prayed on my walk from the coffee shop to the church that he would be okay, that he'd make it through just like he had in the past. He'd be 54 soon.
He gave me a necklace and bracelet before I left, saying he wouldn't have any use for them much longer. I heard just this morning from another older man I used to know well that he was found dead in a tunnel only a mile from that coffee shop.