The Odessa Record -

Letter to the Editor: Hitchhiking vs. giving a lift after a car breakdown


Last updated 4/11/2018 at 3:51pm

To the Editor:

Don’t pick up strangers. Yes, but are there exceptions?

In Odessa, if I see a friend walking, I will pull over and ask if they are just walking or need a ride, especially if I see a woman carrying grocery bags. I pull over and offer her a ride even if I don’t know her. None of my men friends ever said yes to a ride.

What about off the highway? If I see a car parked on the side of the road and then see someone walking, yes I am going to stop and ask if they need help. If I see one bicyclist or one motorcyclist, I will stop to check.

No, I don’t pick up hitch-hikers.

Why do I do it? First of all, reaching out to a perfect stranger makes me feel good about myself, because I have been able to offer help to someone. I also offer rides to strangers because I don’t want to lose my ability to discern a “dangerous” person from a “not-dangerous” person. It’s a skill or gut feeling. We are losing that kind of gut-level discernment today. Today we rely on trusting externals, such as how a person looks or dresses or where he lives or what kind of car he drives or worse, what color his skin is.

I offer rides to people who look like they might need them simply because it’s the right thing to do, and I can do it. I have helped people this way in places like New Orleans, Dallas, Virginia Beach and Seattle. In the 45 years I’ve been driving, I have only picked up nice people.

On Easter Sunday, I was driving on Hwy 28. I pulled off the road for a few minutes, and then the car would not restart. I can’t hear on a cell phone, so I don’t carry one. What could I do? Since I was not past the grain elevator, I decided I would start walking back to Odessa, because I knew someone would stop and give me a ride. Between 4 and 5 p.m., I walked and walked on Hwy 28 to town and then to my house.

I was not anyone’s exception.

Karen Brooks



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