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He was homeless and addicted. Then, a random encounter on the sidewalk changed his life.

Courtesy of Ty Reed
A picture of Ty Reed, taken the day he entered rehab.

This story originally aired on June 29, 2019.

By his own account, Ty Reed is gainfully employed, has the love of his friends and family, and is a productive member of society. But less than five years ago, he was a homeless drug addict and petty criminal. 

It wasn't supposed to be that way. Growing up, he says, his family was "like the Huxtables," and in 2006, he was a successful mortgage professional. But an addiction to crack and — later — methamphetamines turned him into "a down and out homeless person" by 2014.

One day, in the summer of 2015, it all seemed too much. Ty found himself alone in a hotel room and a feeling of desperation and loneliness started to wash over him. That's when he started to form a plan to end his life.

In this story, Ty tells of how he tried to carry out his plan, and how that plan was thwarted by one seemingly insignificant human interaction. 

SUPPORT SERVICES If you or someone you know is in distress, call The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) or call 911 immediately.

This story was featured in a live event co-produced by Sound Effect and the Seattle-based storytelling series Fresh Ground Stories. Listen to more stories from the event in this episode, and in future installments of Sound Effect.

Posey Gruener is a former KNKX producer who worked on All Things Considered and Sound Effect.