About a month ago I was driving home from the gym and I saw a hitch hiker walking along 900. I pulled over and the guy ran up to me and asked me if I was pulling over for him.
"I sure am," I said. "Hop in."
"Thanks man," he said as he sat in the passenger seat. "People aren't so trusting nowadays."
"They sure aren't," I replied. "Sometimes people believe the world is more dangerous than it really is. Then again some hate to have a stranger enter their comfort zone."
"Thankfully there's people like you," he said. "My name is Josh."
"Erik. Welcome to my little ride."
I could play it off like I'm a good Samaritan, but really I have a few rules about picking up hitchhikers.
1) Size the person up. If you feel you could take them if things get physical then pull over.
2) Don't ever do it when you already have a passenger. If something goes awry there's no point in getting them involved.
If Josh had been a particularly big guy would I have given him a ride? Eh probably, but I'm not that much of a saint. My safety will always come first even if I do lend a hand to a stranger.
Josh was a decent fellow who's busy working two jobs and was on his way home from the doctors. He told me he was having some heart trouble which may be related to the long hours he works each week. Seems like life isn't so good for our wayward hitchhiker which probably explains why he couldn't spring for a cab.
I've picked up many hitchhikers in my day and this always comes a surprise to most. Some feel it's foolish, but I think they've been watching too many movies. I've had many a pleasant experience picking up strangers.
I dropped Josh off at an intersection in Renton and he was very thankful for the lift. He would've had a long walk that might have taken him all day. With a heart like his I don't think that would have been wise.
The other night the Pretty Girl and I got out of a movie and witnessed some guy begging for money or a ride. I ignored him because a) I didn't have any cash on me and b) I had my girlfriend with me. Keeping her safe is more important than being someone's savior for the evening, plus I didn't want her to witness what would transpire if things got ugly.
Yeah I do my charity out of convenience and I don't know how I feel about that.
"That's what I liked about hitch-hiking. If a crowd wasn't big enough, I kept walkin." - Brownie McGhee