Misery or Bust

Submitted by Justin:

On her online profile, Erica had listed over three dozen countries that she had visited.  That alone intrigued me enough to write to her.  We decided to meet in person after a couple of weeks of messaging.

She asked if it was okay if she picked me up, rather than the reverse.  I didn't have a problem with that, and so she did.

On our way to dinner, we passed a thin, 30ish hitchhiker in a flannel shirt and a backpack with a handwritten sign on cardboard: "Florida."

She slowed the car down.  I asked, "What are you doing?"

She accelerated past him and said, "That poor kid... he looked so tired."

I didn't say anything to that, but said a silent, thankful prayer that she didn't stop to pick him up.

She turned to me and went on, "Should we pick him up?"

I told her that it was probably for the best that we didn't pick him up.  After all, this was a date.  I shifted the subject to her travel adventures, and she eagerly followed me there.

Towards the end of dinner, I had forgotten all about the hitchhiker.  Erica asked for a chicken parmesan to go.

"For the hitchhiker," she explained, "If we pass him again."

I hoped we wouldn't.  Of course, we did.  She stopped the car and unlocked it. He climbed in without even speaking to us, first.

"Where you headed?" he asked.

She handed him the chicken parm.  He tore into it without a thank-you.  She said, "Where can we take you?"


"We can bring you to the edge of town."

He pointed his plastic fork at me.  "This your boyfriend?" he asked.

"No.  He's just a friend," she said.

He belched in response.  I was silent the entire time.  She drove him to the edge of town, and let him out.

"Bye!" he said, and slammed the door behind himself.

She drove away then turned to me.  "What's your problem?"

"I didn't say anything."

"Exactly.  You didn't say hi or anything.  It was like he was an unwelcome visitor.  You could've been nicer to him."

"You're right."

I agreed with her until she let me back off at my house, where I exited and initiated my plan to never speak to that crazy woman again.


  1. While picking up a hitchhiker is not the safest idea in the world, the woman was only trying to be kind hearted.

    The OP didn't mention anything about the actual date going bad, so I'm going to assume he had a good time.

    OP's loss.

  2. This is a date. Not a time to pick up a hitch hiker.There's a time and place for everything.

    The hitch hiker was going anywhere. And if he was, then at least he was making progress.

    Drop your date off and after the date, go do your kind-hearted deed.

    Picking up a hitch-hiker isn't first date material.

  3. Personally, I think she was wrong to pick up a hitch hiker when someone else was with her, regardless as to whether it was a date or not. Picking up hitch hikers is a pretty big risk when you don't know if the person you're picking up is a crazy serial killer or not. She has the right to put her neck on the line, but not other people's. I also think it was wrong of her to get all upset with the OP for not being "nice" and conversing with the hitch hiker. The guy wasn't the OP's friend; the OP had no obligation to talk the guy!

  4. Wow, OP, you dodged a bullet... wait... what?

  5. As another hitcher for travel, I'm glad that there are people like the OP's date out there. The OP is just an average person; most people don't stop to give a lift. To give us food, you've made a friend for life.

    Team OP's date!

  6. ^ Yeah, a "friend" who didn't even thank her for the food or the ride. Nice.

  7. It was a nice gesture for her to pick the guy up, and an amazingly nice thing for her to give him food. You should have been thinking "Wow, what a kind-hearted lady, I'm lucky to be on a date with her". A random act of kindness does not a bad date make, and she is not crazy. The crazy is a little closer to home.

  8. If your by yourself this would be cool, but not when your on a date. Don't give me that BS that 2:44 is talking about. A date is from when you pick someone up till when you drop them off. Picking up hitchhikers isn't the best thing to do. I do have to say I would pick up a hitchhiker, but not if I was on a date.

  9. Seven-Thirty8/28/2010 6:18 PM

    Confessions of the King is right. If the woman had made an poor impression at dinner, the OP would have brought it up to further the crazy judgment. The woman was kind in an unconventional old fashion way while the OP was on the look out for a non-risk taker bear his genes.

    Alternatively, the OP didn't pick up on a transaction between a junkie and her dealer.

  10. Seven-Thirty8/28/2010 6:19 PM

    to bear his genes

  11. Personally, I think the best time to pick up a random stranger from the side of the road is when you ARE with someone (preferably a big, tough, male someone with a tattoo on his forehead that says "I eat hitchhikers for breakfast"). If he turns out to be a wandering serial killer, he's going to have a lot more trouble overtaking a couple rather than a lone female. Even having another woman with you might put a crimp in his style! Use the buddy system, people.

    That said, you should NEVER pick up hitchhikers EVER. That's just stupidly dangerous.

  12. Well, to be fair, that hitchhiker was kind of a crap date: all burps and no thank yous.

  13. It could have been that she wanted to help the hitch-hiker but was afraid to pick him up alone. She wanted to have her date, the OP, with her to make her good deed a little safer. But from OP's perspective - giving the guy some food is one thing, putting a potentially dangerous person in the car is another....

  14. I'd imagine she wanted to appear like a kind hearted person to the OP. I doubt the hitch hiker was as unappreciative and uncouth as the OP makes out, he embellished the story because he's an arsehole.

  15. I'm fully behind you, OP. Not only is it incredibly bad taste to pick up a hitchhiker on a date, but moreso she put your personal safety at risk without asking permission. Ignore the concern trolls.

  16. 5:20 here again. I'd have to say that I've gotten far more requests to do things I don't want to do and been put in more risk by people that give me lifts than people I've given lifts to. I lift hitchers fairly consistently, and have never had one come across as remotely harmful / dangerous. Some hitchers have given me the most entertaining stories and conversations I've ever heard.

    If you don't feel comfortable picking up a hitcher, don't. But don't go off and say we're dangerous. That's just insulting.

  17. ^ How is it insulting? We're supposed to feel that allowing a complete stranger into our vehicle isn't dangerous? Someone who could easily have a gun or knife on them? Tell that to the people who have been murdered by hitch hikers and the like. Oh wait, you can't! There's a reason we're taught at an early age to be wary of strangers.

  18. I really do hate people who think giving hitchhikers a ride is some sort of obligation, or something you do without asking other people in the car.

    Confessions of a King thinks it's the OP's loss for using discernment when dealing with dates. If my date had her head up her ass, a bullet has been dodged.

  19. ^^ That analogy is ridiculous, not to mention racist. Anyone can have a knife or a gun; not just Asians. I suppose you say "Asians" due to the name "Baku-chan" in an attempt to offend me when, in fact, I am not even Asian.

    I am merely pointing out that you have a bigger risk of being hurt by letting random strangers into your vehicle, no matter what race they are. It's like leaving your door unlocked at night. Very stupid thing to do.

  20. Kind or not, you simply do not pick up hitchhikers on a first date. The OP described several factors that prove this woman, as kind as she appears, is in fact a very selfish person.

    Upon first seeing the hitchhiker, she immediatly began to slow down to pick him up without even a consideration for her date.

    Upon her date's questioning of what she's planning to do, she then immediatly sped up, showing she fully understood her date's apprehention.

    Even with this understanding she decided to continue pressing the issue, further demonstrating her inability to trully care about anyone but her personal emotions.

    She wanted to help this person not because she felt it was the right thing to do, she wanted to do it purly to make herself feel good. As kind as it appears, her motives were purly selfish.

    A poster above me mentioned a possible drug connection. As jaded as this may make me sound, this is actually a much more believable concept and covers all the bases to explain her strange behavior.

    No, it's not strange to want to help someone who appears to be in need, but it is very strange to behave the way she did while upon a first date.

    I agree that she was probably looking for drugs, I agree that she has mental problems, and I agree with the OP's choice to never see her again.

  21. The hitchhiker was obviously the bad date. He was just plain rude, which is probably a symptom of his Asperger's. I mean, he didn't even obey the Rule of the Road and give the date road head!

    The date was a fat bitch who wanted an extra meal for after the date, so she told the OP that it was "for the hitchhiker," thinking that they'd never see the guy again. When they did, she was so embarrassed at her uber-fatty behavior that she HAD to pick him up and give him the food to save face.

    And I'm Team OP - it's one thing to want to pick up hitchhikers, but to do so when your passenger is visibly uncomfortable with the idea isn't okay.

  22. Hitchhikers are like people you find begging, but aren't homeless... Pay for your transportation like everyone else on the planet, get a bike, or walk. Shit, ride a damn horse. 5:20, you can obviously afford a computer and internet, so why do you need to hitch hike? There are even budget airlines you can use to get across country for cheap. For instance did you know you can get on a flight from Rockford IL, to Pheonix AZ for $80? Heck, if you had to hitch multiple rides to get that far, you'd probably end up saving money, what with all the food and hotel rooms you might need to pay for.

    So hitch hikers, you are not in a movie or some beat novel. You are probably not running from the law or in any situation where you would need to keep a low profile in which hitch hiking would make sense as a travel option. And it is dangerous for both the hitcher and the driver because you don't know who you are riding with. Personally though, I would think drivers would need to worry more about having their cars stolen than any bodily harm.

    The hitcher in this story did nothing more than pray on the driver's kindness. It's one thing if you need a ride because your car broke down, or you're stranded for some other reason. It's another to expect people to cart your ass to florida for nothing, and not even say thank you for some free food.

    Help yourselves you damn leeches. Or at least ride a train car with the rest of the hobos, because yes.. you are now basically a bum.

  23. She put him in a risky situation that he did not consent to. Not acceptable. If she cares more about some stranger on the street more than her date, he's better off without her.

  24. Picking up a hitchhiker on a first date is just frigging stupid. She put herself at risk as well as OP. Simple as that.

  25. Thanks folks. Nice to see that someone out there (beneath the pale moonlight!) still has some common sense.

    That said, if one did decide to become a hobo, I hear they have a National Hobo Convention in Iowa every August. Come to think of it, that just happened. huh.

    ...They came in droves, as a mass of torn flannel and smashed stove top hats. Bindles swayed in the air like battle flags, but these soldiers came armed only with flasks of Wild Irish Road. They pitched their tents, (or "boxes" as they called them) and made camp. Then in a blink of an eye, much like their jobs, they were gone.

  26. Maybe I'm missing something, but where I'm from picking up hitchhikers is considered a kind gesture and not viewed as particularly dangerous. Is this an American thing? Is your country really swarming with psychotic murderers to such a degree?

  27. Thank you 2:30! ^Yes (plus this pretty much holds true anywhere, yeesh)...

  28. @Slava: In many places in the US, it's actually illegal to pick up hitchhikers. We've got posted signs and everything.

    In Baltimore (where I'm from), we have "hacks," which are illegal taxis who pick people up, agree on a set fare, and then drop people off at their destination. It's a dangerous job, because they're robbed fairly frequently, but it's the best way people in poor neighborhoods can get around, and when you don't get robbed, you make decent money.

  29. I Googled "dangerous hitchhikers" and the first page of entries (because I couldn't be bothered to look any further) was about the danger to hitchhikers rather than the other way around. I also Googled "danger to pick up hitchhikers" and found pretty much the same thing - danger for the thumber. Isn't that interesting?
    Personally, I wouldn't pick someone up (unless I knew them) mostly because all the hitchhikers I've ever seen are standing and waiting for a ride. I mean, start walking while you're holding out that thumb, lazy!
    I'm guessing she went to all those marvelous destinations through hitchhiking so is more open to picking up strangers and understands the "dangers" (like there isn't danger in 99% of the things we do on a daily basis).
    The guy knew she was planning to pick up the hitcher while at dinner, why didn't he say anything then? Oh, I don't know, something like "I'm uncomfortable with picking up a hitchhiker. If you insist on getting him food, we can drop it off to him, but not let him in the car. If you want to go back and pick him up afterward, that's your prerogative."

  30. Kemper killed and dismembered six hitchhikers (picked up 150) in my neck of the woods. Like down the street from my house. Yet I see teenagers thumbing it all the time on the same roads. I also see plenty of missing person posters.

    And let’s not forget about Cameran Hooker who kept his hitchhiker in a box under his bed for seven years as a sex slave. That was the next town over from where I grew up.

    Wournos, Jackson, Ward, Kraft, Lucas & Toole, Ng, Highway of Tears. I could go on and on. Hitchhikers make for easy pickins.

  31. Why not just give food and water and go on with the date? It was actually risky.

  32. Bottom line. He seemed uncomfortable and she completely ignored his wishes. And if you want to talk about communication, why didn't she say "Hey, do you mind if we pick up this hitchhiker?" Seriously! I would never pick up a hitchhiker because I do have a little bit of common sense and I live in a big city. But I'm definitely on OP's side here.

  33. Hitchhiker was rude. If he was nice I'd agree w her but hopping in a car without asking seem dangerous and pointing the fork at someone is also rude


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