Michael Robinson was stranded in Oklahoma City, a place he's never been, and the temperature was dropping quickly.
Robinson, 54, was in town with his girlfriend, who travels around the United States for business, when the two got into a fight and Robinson was left behind.
Scared and looking for a place to hunker down to ride out the winter weather, Robinson got on a city bus and asked the driver to take him to the City Rescue Mission downtown.
“I was worried about dying. It got cold, it got real cold,” he said. “It was rough and I was out in the middle of nowhere and I don't know anything about this state.”
With Wednesday's temperatures dropping to a low of 13 degrees in the early morning, the lowest temperature in Oklahoma since February 2011, homeless people across the state have been seeking refuge from frigid temperatures.
Jennifer Thurman, deputy director for the Oklahoma Homeless Alliance, said she kept busy during the holiday to help Oklahoma City's homeless find shelter; avoiding exposure to temperatures that dip to single digits with the wind chill factored in.
“When it gets this cold, trying to spend the night outside can kill you,” Thurman said. “Thankfully, there are plenty of options for those with nowhere to go so they can stay warm and be safe.”
Thurman said the three biggest shelters — City Rescue Mission, Salvation Army and Jesus House — open their doors to everyone when the temperature drops below 32 degrees.
To accommodate the number of homeless trying to come in from the cold, City Rescue Mission put down mats in the hallway to give people a place to sleep.
Lisa Combs, executive administrator for City Rescue Mission, said 450 people have been staying at the shelter.
“They are always grateful to have a place to spend the night, in a place that's warm, so we always make sure that's available to them,” Combs said. “They are always really thankful to have a place when it's really this cold.”
Robinson said he's still not very thrilled with the situation he's in with his girlfriend but that he's definitely thankful for the place to keep warm.
“It's definitely better than being out in the cold,” he said. “At least I'm alive right now, that's how I look at it.”