Riding with Strangers

strangerIt was a cold and snowy afternoon as I walked home from school. Being 14 years of age, it was fairly safe for me to make the 20 minute trek alone. I was always taught not to talk to strangers and knew better than to get in the car with one. So I thought.

About 3 blocks from my house, I was stopped on the road by the driver of a passing car. The 40’something year old man asked if I wanted a ride. I was only 5 minutes from my house, so I declined the offer. Plus, he was obviously much older than me, so wisdom told me not to get in the car.

He then pleaded with me to let him help me out, claiming that he didn’t like the idea of a girl having to walk out there in the cold. I looked at him and pondered his request for a few moments, and then accepted it. Having been walking in the snow and cold for over 15 minutes, I was ready to be home and out of the elements. I used this excuse to justify my acceptance of his offer.

I opened the car door, sat down and closed it. It was at that moment that reality set in and I realized what a poor decision that was. Instantly, I was terrified. Having seen several movies and news clips about girls being kidnapped and murdered, I just knew that that was the end for me. I had walked myself right into a deadly situation.

He asked me where my home was and I told him it was straight up the road 3 blocks. As I was speaking those words all I could think was, “But, you won’t take me there. I know it.” The car was already moving and I didn’t want to jump out. So, I sat firmly in my seat hoping for the best.

As we pulled up next to my home, I asked him to stop. And…he did! He let me go! I was indescribably relieved. In a shaking voice, I thanked him and quickly got out of the car. While walking up to the front door of my home, I stared wide eyed ahead in disbelief at what I had just done. That could have been the worst decision of my life. Thankfully, he ended up being a nice man who just wanted to help a young girl out.

I still shake my head when I think back to that day. I knew better, yet when the moment presented itself I went against everything I had ever been taught. Why? Because I was cold. What a terrible excuse to take such a risk.

What’s worse, is that wasn’t the first time I had done such a thing. The first time, I was only 5 years old and running from the imaginary ‘bad people‘ who were trying to get me.

Back in the day people used to hitchhike all the time. Sometimes that resulted in deadly consequences, but most often it ended well. Now days, getting into the car with a stranger is very likely asking for trouble.

Have you ever ‘walked’ into a potentially life threatening situation?

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12 Responses to Riding with Strangers

  1. pardenme says:

    I ‘liked’ this, but don’t like it one bit. You were being watched over for sure and for that I am eternally grateful. So often we put ourselves in dangerous situations and don’t realize it until it’s almost, or IS too late.


    • mewhoami says:

      🙂 I figured I would get an interesting comment from you on this one. Don’t you just love the things you find out after your kids are grown? Sorry. It was a very unwise choice and I’ll be the first to admit that.


  2. Imelda says:

    My heart was in my throat as I read your story. That was scary – especially since I experienced being mugged inside a cab by the taxi driver and some cohorts he picked up after I was already in the cab.

    I am glad you met a genuinely nice man.


  3. April says:

    Yes. I have performed many feats of stupidity. I don’t even like to write about them. I have never talked about them, even on my blog, or to my therapist. All I feel comfortable saying, is that I placed myself in a potentially dangerous situation, almost didn’t escape it.


    • mewhoami says:

      I understand not wanting to talk about some of those things. The important part is that you got out safely. So many people don’t. But, it sure doesn’t make going through it any less frightening.


  4. Hello! Yes, you got away easy with that one. I’ve done a lot of hitch-hiking when I was a teen, and it was almost always fine. But anytime I wasn’t looking for a lift and got offered one – well, those were the dangerous people.


  5. suzjones says:

    I really can’t think of any off the top of my head.
    You were so extremely lucky to have met a nice person though. I won’t even pick up hitchhikers when I’m in the car with the Garden Gnome. Too scary for me.


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