Thursday, September 2, 2010

The hitchhiker

"I have to live in a world that I can believe in. That's my nature. I need faith like one needs air, like fish need water."

Due to the comments and emails I have received from concerned readers, I figured I would post a sequel to my previous post.

Apparently hitchhikers are a very controversial subject. Both my parents read my blog on a regular basis. (Hi mom and dad). Its quite interesting to hear their very different perspectives. After hearing of yesterdays post my dad gently reminds me this morning that the guy that murdered my grandmother Hitch hiked from Davis to Canaan Valley after the murder. "Safety is a real concern and frankly picking up people who are just hitchhiking or who are supposedly stranded is dangerous".  My mother and I both agree with that statement. But.... this is where my mother reminds my father that it is a sad state of affairs when you cant help someone who looks like they are in obvious need of help. Do we let fear over come the act of doing what is right? Momma always got my back. Of course my Dad sees the wisdom in his lovely wife's words and agrees. BUT then he suggests to just call one of the guys (himself the hub or the bro) and they will take care of it. Good plan and trust me Dad when I say, "I put that up in tha noggin in the ol' filin' cabinet." ;)

Anyways, so I enjoyed the insight from everyone, especially my parents, here are my thoughts....

There are two types of hitchhikers. People that fly by the seat of their pants at the cost of hard working citizens and then there are the people with a car bellowing out loads of smoke and crying out to the gods "O why Me". I would never pick up someone with a sign that says headed "south" but a person who is in obvious distress, I would most definitely consider it.

 I find pity on the people who have found themselves stranded in a precarious position. Perhaps its from a childhood memory still embedded in the soles of my feet, when my mom accidentally locked the keys in the car at the park. We had to walk several miles to my grandmothers house. I was wearing a pair of those darn Jelly shoes that put blisters on your feet. Awe, yes , how pleasant was the days before cell phones. (I do realize that although I do have some hard earned sympathy here that I may also be a sucker too). ;)

I cant help but to think if I were in need of assistance? I would hope that I wouldn't have to wait for 80 cars to pass me by before a kind hearted citizen decided to stop. I would hope that though the risk are high for both parties, that by good judgement and a little divine intervention would protect us both. I do believe that good judgment and caution is always necessary.

I just cant help to find it sad to think that it takes a leap of faith in order to pay it forward. But in today's world where there is corruption greed jealousy and other evils behind every corner, what is one to do? Should we quit taking people at face value? The value of a man reminds me of the day my husband and I made an order with Mr. Weaver at a local Amish saw mill. He took people for their word and had faith. I cant tell you what is right for you but for me, I learned a valuable lesson through Mr. Weaver simple act of trust... Believe in people.

The news media plays a huge part in callousing the heart. The media teaches us that everyone is out to get us. I remember going to a church service once. The sermon was about "giving". Not necessarily about tithing but about helping out those in need. The minister said something along the lines of, people being jaded by scams thus encouraging them not to give. He said that anytime you give out of the kindness of your heart you are giving to god, not necessarily just to the person/receiver. What the person does with the gift is on their conscience not yours. I am not really a church goer type person but that sermon has always stuck with me.
I believe that story can also relate to this matter.

I don't stop for every person I see on the side of the road but when the circumstances look obvious, I have been known to stop... and just for the record I have never put anyone (that I didn't know) in my vehicle while my children present.

After the feedback from all the readers and a nasty email, I will stick with my old policy... no stopping for men and no one gets in the car with the youngsters, and  I promise to use safety and good judgement with in any and all situations. Thanks for the feed back. Opinions and other perspective are ALWAYS appreciated and considered as long as they are presented in a respectful manor.


  1. Daggone it Leigh, just when I say that I can't possibly keep up with any more blogs, some kind soul like you comes along and follows mine and then rates 100% when I check out theirs (yours). Oh well, what do I need sleep and marital peace for when there's good blogs like yours to read?

  2. Man or woman, it’s a tough call. I never pick up those by the side of a Walmart store with a sign proclaiming they are headed for where ever. If it’s someone I know with obvious car trouble, of course. Otherwise I play it by ear, depending on the circumstances. Someone who appears to be a local resident in need of help, ok. A gang of teenagers with their pants hanging down around their knees, no way. Common sense plays a big factor, and if I hear alarm bells going off I’ll drive on by. On the other hand I could be that old man you saw by the side of the road, and there have been times I would have appreciated a little help. At my age I’m not much of a threat to anyone, but I’m not in shape to do any serious butt kicking either should someone try anything funny.

  3. I can't imagine why anyone would send you a nasty email. Obviously, they don't know you. What an idiot!

    Hang in there with the not smoking. On Sept. 19, it will be one year since Dan and I quit. I really don't miss them too much, but do sometimes. I just remember what it was like to watch my Dad die of cancer. Don't want my kids to go through that. It was really horrible. YOU CAN DO IT!! Think about your kids.

  4. Gorges,
    Awe, Such kind words! I am enjoying your blog as well. It seems we are kindred spirits, and a WV boy at that! (WV=home sweet home)

    My points exactly! Good judgement plays the biggest role. I try to put myself in others shoes. Treat people as you would want to be treated... makes me wonder, how would I feel if it were my Papaw stranded? Great thoughts Bob. Thanks for the comment.

    Luckily I have tough skin. Im pretty frickin' wonderful so OBVIOUSLY they don't know me! JUST KIDDING. LOL

    Thanks for the support and you are very right. I don't want my children having to go through anything like that. Congrats on your up coming "no smoking" anniversary. Thats a really big deal! I cant wait until I can say that!

  5. I guess I should have read this post first. Go with your gut. I also like your dad's advice, call in the big boys to get the job done. : )

  6. Rural,
    No worries. ;) I like the idea of bringing in the big guns (boys) too. I'm all about time management and dispersing the work. :)

  7. Thought provoking post, Leigh, and one that mirrors some thoughts I've been having lately. I've never picked up a hitchhiker before and am not sure I ever will. Last time I encountered one was in Vermont while camping. It's a rare sight, maybe more up in these parts, to see a hitchhiker, so when we do, we're immediately suspicious. As we passed the man (we couldn't have picked him up if wanted to because the car was so packed)one of my friends made a comment about how dumb that guy must be to think anyone would pick him up. It's a reflection of the society we live in when decent, kindhearted people, like my friend, won't even give a second thought to helping someone in need. It's why I watch very little television these days.

    The thing about hitchhikers is you never hear anything good about them, whether it's the movies, the (so-called) news, or through conversation. The negative connotation prevents us from engaging in a basic act of kindness. Still, there's some merit to picking your spots when helping someone out. While I'm probably more likely to get attacked at an ATM machine or walking down the street, I don't think I'll ever pick up a hitchhiker. There are exceptions, of course - if I see a woman on the side of the road with her three kids and a puppy, I'm helping them out.

    I fear we're losing out humanity. The way we communicate nowadays, through texting and emailing, one-on-one interaction is becoming extinct. People have trouble even stopping to say hello, never mind giving a stranger a lift into town. To paraphrase what you said in your post, the act itself is important, not so much the outcome. In other words, if you pick up a hitchhiker and he murders you, you still did a good, humane thing, and nothing can take that away. Look at the advanced souls that have walked this earth -Buddha, Jesus, Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Mother Theresa - and what is the common thread? Each one of them thrust themselves in harms way willingly in order to abolish fear and suffering. They made brave statements in favor of humanity and love. They figured out that we are all the same, that to help the smallest among us is to help everyone.

    I'm rambling a bit, and could go on much longer. You have a good heart, Leigh, and it's inspiring to see you working out how to project it while keeping you and your loved ones safe.

    Keep it up and know that every act of kindness has a ripple effect and benefits us all.

  8. Kevin,
    Loved the Paraphrasing.I almost used it myself but I was worried it would imply the desire to become a martyr. Although I have no desires to be dismembered by a hitchhiker and I like to think those stories are fables, based on perhaps a grain of truth, I feel that "Helping" is necessary.

    I am kind of amazed that hitchhiking is a rarity there. Middle Tennessee has more than its fair share of the travelers (homeless hitchhikers). With this economy there is more and more people on the streets, squatting in abandon houses, in cars and under bridges. These sights are no longer seen just in larger cities such as Nashville but in the rural areas as well.
    But those are the hitchhikers with that "negative" connotation...

    Like you said "a woman with her three kids and a dog", you would most definitely stop. I would too... I just have to figure out if I would stop for an elderly person or not... tossing that one around based on principle. :)

    Thanks for the engaging comment.