This was a first for me – the ever wary, skeptical, and suspicious part of me that is always vigilant around people I do not know. Perhaps my vigilance is due to an almost-snatching when I was in grade school - we were on a field trip to the airport when a man tried to get me into his car as I was walking ahead of the rest of the group in the parking lot. After using my famous, “movie star scream” and running through the parked cars, I was slightly traumatized, and all the mothers were on high alert. The man sped away, and was not seen again - lucky for him, since the moms would have seriously hurt him.
I had a bad scare as a teenager, when a neighbor kid approached my brother and I as we searched for a small object in the yard after dark. Again, cue the movie star scream and a broken halogen flashlight. Apparently, in my fright, I used the flashlight to club my brother so I could outrun him and thus escape the evil monster that we both imagined. It was a horrific moment, no doubt caused in part by our heightened senses and active imaginations. I will never forget either of those incidents – they are indelibly etched upon my mind and possibly in my brother’s forehead, as well.
Several years ago, my pastor’s wife was the victim of a purse-snatching as she walked in the parking lot of a department store. The thief drove by in a car and grabbed her purse. She didn’t want to let go of her favorite handbag, and was dragged by the car. I now take precautions for my personal belongings as well. I am beginning to sound like a paranoia-ridden sociophobe, but really I am not… I am just very careful.
So, to my own surprise, a few weeks ago, I offered to take a little old lady home from Kroger. She had locked her keys in her car, and her husband was at home with the other set. Since they only had one vehicle, they were both stuck where they were. I sized her up, and decided that at 4’ 11" she didn’t pose a serious threat to me or my 25 pound purse. I took her home, and then back to the store with the spare set of keys. It was liberating! :) I made her day as well. She said in all her 92 years, she had never done such a forgetful thing, and thanked me profusely for my kindness.
Saturday, I had to pick Paul up from the airport. He dropped me off at the store to finish some Christmas shopping while he went to the RV body shop to pick up our trailer. I finished my shopping, but had to cross a busy highway to get to the other store. How was I to do this? I thought at first that I would just walk across the intersection, but on second thought, it was really busy. As I pondered my dilemma, I decided that I would “bum a ride” with some nice person. At this point, I had to decide who the lucky person would be. I chose my victims carefully, and approached them as they were stuffing their large Christmas purchases into a very small car. The three ladies looked askance at me, but after a moment decided that I was harmless ( little did they know) and agreed to drive me across the road. I was so grateful, even though I did have to sit on top of the seat back due to all the packages. :)
I do not plan on making either giving or taking rides to/from strangers a regular habit, but it is nice to know that some people can still be trusted.
Have you ever had to hitch a ride?
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