Homeless hitchhiker rescued by passerby, fed by trooper, offered warmth in sheriff's office

It was -15 degrees when a homeless man looking for shelter took a 50 mile trek from Grand Rapids, Minn. to Aitkin County. Once he got to mile marker 249 on Highway 169, he decided to lay down to try to keep warm. Fortunately, two good people stopped to help.

“He was a nice man, bout my age late 30s early 40s and his name was Adam,” said Mary Dinger. “I immediately pulled over and ran to him.”

After Dinger called 9-1-1, Trooper Glen Bihler arrived on scene to assist.

“She’d let him get in the back of her car, which was fantastic on her part, kind of unheard of to let a stranger get in the back of your car in the middle of nowhere,” Trooper Bihler said. “He had been walking from Grand Rapids since early yesterday morning. And just got to the point where he couldn’t feel his feet anymore.”

Soon a medic confirmed Adam, who was walking and hitchhiking to the Twin Cities for shelter, wasn’t frostbitten, but he was hungry.

“He said he hadn’t eaten since yesterday morning,” Trooper Bihler said, who decided to take Adam to McDonald’s for a hot meal. “I think he got a double quarter-pounder with cheese value meal.”

Then the trooper then took Adam to the lobby of the Aitkin County Sheriff’s Office -- “that’s the only place in the county that’s open so that’s where he spent the night.”

Keeping Adam out of the cold that night was a gesture Dinger truly appreciated.

“Was very kind of him, that was beyond his job calling, so I appreciate that, that was wonderful I’m glad he did that,” said Dinger, who founded Sowing Seeds for God, an organization that helps homeless people in Aitkin County.  

Trooper Bihler said he did nothing out of the ordinary -- “There but for the grace of god go I. Just somebody down on his luck that needs some help, so do what we can for him.”

Bihler said finding the homeless walking or hitchhiking for a warm place to stay happens far too often in Aitkin, and all across the state.