Monday, June 13, 2011

True Stories

I did something last week that I seldom do, and I don't recommend doing, and I especially don't recommend single women doing it. But sometimes... it just feels right and I think you've got to go with those feelings.

Last Tuesday I was running early for work - something of a novelty for me as I'm usually LATE - I always find the need to do just those last few little things around the house that makes me run behind. Anyway, there I was cruising down Highway 30 patting myself on the back because I was going to get in work early.

Just east of Hershey, I passed a hitchhiker... He was hitchhiking, but exhaustedly so. He was sitting by the side of the road propped up on his enormous backpack, legs outstretched, feebly holding his thumb in the air. He looked so forlorn, I just had to stop.

Adam was hitchhiking from California to visit relatives in Wisconsin. He hadn't done too badly until reaching Nebraska. He had been dropped off the previous evening in Ogallala, nearly fifty miles to the west. The trucker who dropped him off told him encouragingly "Just stay on Highway 30. Everyone here is so nice, you'll get rides from town to town to town." Famous last words that never materialized. Adam ended up walking nearly all the way to North Platte, and he was exhausted and discouraged.

He told me he was giving up. He was going to call a friend in Colorado to pick him up, or get on a bus and go back home. He asked my opinion and I told him that he was nearly 2/3rds of the way there, that he should keep going. He was skeptical to say the least.

I dropped him off at the homeless shelter in North Platte where he would have a safe comfortable place to get some sleep. I tried to figure out a way to help him further on down the road, but couldn't come up with anything. I thought I had done all I could for him.

Tuesday evening, we were hosting Couch Surfers. Three itinerant musicians on a cross-country trip. I confessed to picking up the hitchhiker, telling the story around the dinner table. After being duly chastized for my foolishness (At least two of us around the table had seen him and hadn't stopped), I continued my tale with the fact that he was traveling to Wisconsin. Our guests looked at each other, then back at me, "We're traveling to Wisconsin."

Long story short, I called the homeless shelter. The poor young man had already bought a bus ticket back to California, but after considering for awhile, called back to say he was going to take the three generous Couch Surfing artists up on their offer.

I have yet to hear back with the results of tne encounter. Hopefully it went well for all concerned. I'll update if I do hear.

So just remember... not everyone who is hitchhiking is an axe-murduring rapist. There are fine upstanding young people (many of whom we have hosted as Couch Surfers) who are just living an alternative lifestyle. Be generous when you can.

Thanks for stopping by. The coffee is always on.

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