“So this was told to me by an old family friend, Nicki, numerous times as a kid growing up, as one of those “life advice stories” to keep in mind through the years. And to her credit, I have never forgotten it. Whenever anything associated with hitchhiking comes up it always springs to mind and probably always will. Makes me a bit ill whenever I think about it actually.
So Nicki, who grew up at the same time as my dad around the early ’80s, was a young woman in her mid 20s. She’s one of those real kindhearted souls, always willing to help another out in a time of need, you know? And I can’t imagine her being anything other than that when she was younger so I totally see her doing this too.
So, driving into the city (about a two-hour-or-so drive out from town) She saw a man walking down the side of the road. As she neared he turned and, in typical hitchhiker manner, stuck out the ol’ arm and thumb. Nicki, bless her heart, pulled over and asked him if he needed any help.
She told me that he was really polite, if not a bit shy, when he asked for a lift into the city. Nicki gave a smile and popped open the passenger door for the guy, who tossed his bag into the back seat and buckled up for the ride ahead.
They talked pleasantly for most of the trip, about friends, the news, etc. She felt that they were getting on really well and even bought him dinner at the pit stop a little over halfway there. She says he seemed really flustered and awkward when she paid, but one of the things they had talked about was money and how he was pretty dang strapped for cash, which was why he was hitchhiking in the first place. But he eventually relented and they went on their way.
As soon as they got into the city he thanked her profusely for the ride and the food and asked to be dropped off once they hit downtown. Before getting out he asked for Nicki’s phone number so he could contact her someday and catch up. Thrilled at the prospect of knowing how her new friend was faring, Nicki wrote it down for him and drove off with the warm feeling of a good deed done.
Now I’m sorry if you were expecting something creepy to have happened by now, but I think this is what freaked me out so much as a kid; how nice everything seemed to have worked out. Nicki would get this crease in her forehead and a funny look in her eye when she would tell me the next part.
A week later she got a phone call from her ‘driving buddy.’ He didn’t let her get a word in edgewise after ‘hello’ and told her- ‘that she should thank god that she was raised so nice, because when he first got in her car he was planning on raping and murdering her once they got to that pit stop. That he was going to steal that car and dump her body in a ditch further down the road and go on his merry way. But after she talked with him so kindly, and treated him to dinner with a smile on her face, he couldn’t bring himself to do it. He didn’t think that he could live with himself after doing that to such a nice lady. And to please, please, Nicki please: Never. Ever. Pick up another hitch hiker.’
Then he hung up the phone.
Nicki never got a call from him again, when she tried re-dialing the number she got a payphone.
And so, Mr. Hitchhiker, I know I’m never going to meet you. Because I’m going to listen to the advice you gave your driving buddy and never. Ever. Pick up a hitchhiker.”