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Hitchhikers - Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down

Updated on August 18, 2011

Would I ever hitchhike? Have I ever picked up a hitchhiker? Is it even safe to pick up a hitchhiker?

I live in the country, so of course it's no surprise to find someone standing on the side of the road with their thumb sticking up, hoping to catch a ride into town. Hitchhikers don't bother me, I'd honestly offer some of them a ride if I had the space. Of course, in the back of my mind, I'm also remembering all those horror movies where a hitchhiker jumps into a person's car and a couple of days later, the police find the person chopped up into little pieces (if they even find a body). The thought of being killed for trying to help out a fellow human being makes me worried; enough to "space out" and coast on by without even realizing we were past the person already.

When I was in college, every once in a while, I would to catch a ride from a friendly/helpful fellow student who was going in the same direction as I was. The walk to and from my house to my classes wasn't so bad (It did help me to keep slender), so I didn't mind. There were a few days when the load in my bag(s) were a bit much, it was pouring rain, or the sun was blaring down on me so bad that it felt like I was on fire that I'd accept a ride from a stranger. I never once intentionally stuck my thumb out to catch a ride from someone, it was just my luck that the person figured I must be a student as well and they would stop to see if I wanted a lift. Luckily, nothing ever happened to me during those rides, other than meeting a kind person. So have I hitchhiked? Yes, I guess I have. I didn't intentionally stick my thumb out for a ride, but I did accept a ride from a stranger.

Then there were a few times when my friends and I were driving around (sometimes to and from school) and we'd see someone standing on the side of the road, thumb outstretched. Of course we'd want to be nice and help the person out, so we'd stop, open the door, and let the person(s) in. Every once in a while, we'd end up with some really strange ones. Luckily, I nor my friends were ever harmed during those experiences either, but we do have some memories that will surely help us think twice, including picking up people so drunk that they'd pass out without telling us where they needed to go, picking up people on drugs that would try to get us to use drugs too, to even picking up people who seemed normal, but would start to go crazy once we'd try to make conversation. Those experiences alone should make me not want to pick up another hitchhiker for the rest of my life, but I can't help but to feel sorry and want to help the person. Have I ever picked up a hitchhiker? Yes, I (we) have a few times (when there was space in the car/truck).

Most of the people I see waiting on the side of the road for a ride look harmless. They look like they honestly just want a ride from point A to point B, no problems given, maybe even offering you some of their organic sustenance (I'm no vegetarian/vegan, but I love some of the food!). There are a lot of hippies living in my area, so I don't worry when it comes to giving them a ride if I'm able to. But there are also the people I see standing on the side of the road that make me feel like I need to lock my doors and speed past them. Maybe it's just me, but I honestly get paranoid with some of those people cause they look like they could be hiding a knife in their pocket, have a bottle from in their bag to use it to knock me over the head with, or pull out a gun to hold me at gunpoint for the few dollars I have in my pocket. I could be completely wrong about them, and I admit that, but when my intuition tells me to run, I RUN!

So would I pick up another hitckhiker? At this point in time, my answer would most likely be "No". I could change my mind later if perhaps my intuition tells me to pick up someone, but until that time, I have to stick to my guns. Is it even safe to pick up a hitchhiker? Yes and No. You be the judge. I can't tell you if every single person out their hitchhiking is a masked murderer or not. Most of the people hitchhiking honestly just want a ride. Use your intuition or that "gut feeling" to tell you if it is or isn't safe to pick her/him/them up. Personally, I would have to give picking up a hitchhiker a thumbs DOWN.


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  • chucksbaby profile image

    chucksbaby 7 years ago

    It's best to use your instincts for sure. However, I'll tell you hitchhiking is very statistically safe, and honestly it's probably more dangerous for the hitcher. They have little to nothing with them and are probably in a position that they won't be missed for a while should something happen to them. I hitched from Denver to California, up to Oregon and back through to Kansas, never once had a bad experience. Almost fell off a truck once, but that was more my fault, and my fiance had his foot run over, but it was also an accident! Most people gave us money, food, or a place to sleep. If they've got a backpack on and look clean, they're probably just friendly travelers. =D