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Have you picked up hitchhikers?

Old 06-07-19, 09:26 PM
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Have you picked up hitchhikers?

We used to hitchhike all the time when we were kids, sometimes to go to the beach twenty miles away. When I was in my twenties I gave a guy a ride after seeing him on the freeway onramp. I dropped him off in Long Beach and then went home. Later that evening, my sister called me. She managed a Bob's Big Boy restaurant and told me they were robbed. The holdup man got a small amount of money, then sat outside on the bus stop waiting for the police to arrest him. It was the guy I had given a ride.
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Old 06-07-19, 09:41 PM
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Re: Have you picked up hitchhikers?

I stooped to hitch-hiking a couple of times in emergencies. No cell phones / wifi in the LA of the '70s. I never did give any hitch-hikers a ride, though. You see, I had been indoctrinated to "stranger danger" by all those ridiculously corny Sid Davis 16mm mental hygiene films which were shown to us virgin and naive kids. (I kid, I kid). And I had seen the noir film HITCH-HIKE! (1953) as well!

Back in the '60s - 70s many hitch-hiked as a way of life, a means of transportation. Those poor, broke, unwashed hippies! 99% of them were harmless (albeit unwashed!)

I never did it because I walked to most wherever I had to get to, or caught a ride with generous friends...
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Old 06-07-19, 10:32 PM
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Re: Have you picked up hitchhikers?

Hitch-hiked a few times, and picked up hitch-hikers a few times - 35-40 years ago. Would not even consider doing it today.
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Old 06-07-19, 11:12 PM
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Re: Have you picked up hitchhikers?

I've never picked up a hitchhiker. I hitchhiked once back in the early 70s.
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Old 06-08-19, 01:28 AM
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Re: Have you picked up hitchhikers?

And isnít the rule of thumb ass, cash, or grass as payment for the ride? I am just kidding, but so far the stories about hitchhikers are pretty tame, this is Otter talk so folks need to step it up a notch. I need to read something like I spied this gorgeous young thing on the side of the road and gave her a ride...and then I took her to where she needed to go. Or something like that but maybe less lame sounding.

I remember seeing the occasional hitchhiker back in the day when I was in my parents car (I did not get my license until I was 32 so I never had a chance to help a hitchhiker out) and of course they never stopped. Despite all the grindhouse films from the 70s that depict some pretty skeevy situations when some poor soul in the film meets up with some obviously sinister characters and really grimy things happen to them I tend to agree with Bronkster that maybe back in the 70s and 80s you were taking much less of a gamble than you are today.

Unfortunately, today you are just as likely to pick up someone who turns out to be homeless with mental issues to boot vs someone a bit down on their luck who needs a ride to get to a motel for the night or something like that.
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Old 06-08-19, 04:21 AM
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Re: Have you picked up hitchhikers?

Originally Posted by Inhumans99 View Post


that maybe back in the 70s and 80s you were taking much less of a gamble than you are today.

Unfortunately, today you are just as likely to pick up someone who turns out to be homeless with mental issues to boot vs someone a bit down on their luck who needs a ride to get to a motel for the night or something like that.
That's a good point. Before deinstitualization, most all of the mentally ill were locked up where they belonged-- in state-run mental hospitals. Not snake pits; mental hospitals... The PC police have tried to change history there, but, at least I remember the way things really were. Now they've all been released and are roaming the streets. Ergo, this is a very palpable reason why it is so very dangerous to pick up hitch-hikers today. During era of mental hospitals (most of them shut down before 1985), you had a lot of harmless / "legitimate" hitch-hikers, but now you've got many crazies....
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Old 06-08-19, 05:54 AM
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Re: Have you picked up hitchhikers?

As one of the few Otters of the female persuasion, I can truthfully attest that I have never picked up a hitchhiker, nor have I ever hitchhiked. This is one more illustration of how females and males are socialized differently. My brothers hitched a lot in the early 70s; it was the times. Fortunately, none of them were ever murdered, although I've never asked if anything else bad ever happened to them. The one who hitched the most died a few years ago and he was a strong silent type anyway, so I doubt he would have admitted to any bad experiences.

I remember seeing the scary filmstrips in school too. Even if I hadn't had parents who cherished their one and only daughter and reminded me constantly to be careful, I was already plenty paranoid by the time I hit junior high, the age at which most kids start hitching if they're going to (at least that's how it was back then).
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Old 06-08-19, 06:24 AM
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Re: Have you picked up hitchhikers?

I've done both, hitched and picked up. This was the seventies.
Once I picked up a guy who was going to a friend's house. On the way encountered another hitchhiker. The guy I picked up says, "That's the guy whose house I'm going to.". So I picked him up too, took them to the house, went in and got high with them and became friends.
A friend and I were hitching and got picked up by a guy. He asked us if we wanted to go to a party. We said sure and ended up at this huge house with a big party going on. It was the house of the guy who picked us up and he was a dealer. Was at this house several times after that. Remember once he had a chunk of hash the size of a meatloaf on the kitchen table. He was slicing off 1 ounce slices and wrapping them in foil to sell.
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Old 06-08-19, 07:06 AM
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Re: Have you picked up hitchhikers?

I have never picked up a hitchhiker, but one time, in the 80's, after leaving my then girlfriend's house at 2am, my car broke down a few miles from my home. A man and woman who looked like they were my age at the time, (early 20's) stopped and asked if I need a ride? I got in and they took me home. Super nice couple, but there's no way I would ever get in a car with someone I do not know now.
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Old 06-08-19, 08:06 AM
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Re: Have you picked up hitchhikers?

When I was still in college, for a couple of years I lived outside UCSB (University of California Santa Barbara), but attended school at the city college, about 15 miles away. A lot of people did the same. Afternoons, when I was leaving the city college campus, there were often people at a corner looking for a ride back to UCSB, and I would sometimes stop and give someone a ride.
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Old 06-08-19, 09:03 AM
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Re: Have you picked up hitchhikers?

I have never picked up a hitchhiker, but I did hitchhike once when I was 16 and running away from home. The first guy who picked me up was older, maybe 50's, and instead of driving down the freeway, he drove to a little convenience store in a wooded area and asked if I wanted some beer. He also had a huge stack of Hustler type magazines, and asked if they were "my type of magazine." I was pretty freaked out, to say the least and got out. And I'm lucky he was just a perv instead of a murdering or rapist perv.

Second guy who picked me up was a pot dealer in his 30s. I ended up staying at his house a couple days, and he drove me down to Oregon (from Washington). The most notable thing about him was when I expressed concern that my mother was probably really worried, he thought she'd just get over it. I didn't drink or use any drugs around him (though at that age I normally would have) because I was pretty aware that he was constantly lightly hitting on me, and at 16, I thought 30+ was really old. I was gone a week. Gave both my parents a heart attack.
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Old 06-08-19, 09:05 AM
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Re: Have you picked up hitchhikers?

I saw one dude down the road one time, I rolled down the window and saw his face look liked Rutger Hauer. I quickly speed away.
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Old 06-08-19, 09:30 AM
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Re: Have you picked up hitchhikers?

I hitchhiked a lot in the 1980s. After I got a car, I paid if forward and picked up a lot of hitchhikers.

  • One guy had been partying with co-workers after work. When he passed out, they took his wallet and left him at a roadside picnic table miles from anywhere. Ha ha, right? I took him straight to his job so he wouldn't be too late for work.
  • A guy who was scraped-up all over and had torn clothes. He said that he'd tried to kill himself the night before by throwing himself in front of a truck. The truck driver had braked hard enough that he was only beat up instead of dead.
  • A guy whose family had lived around there for three hundred years. He told stories about all the landmarks.
  • A young Navajo guy who was standing where a dirt road met the highway. He was dressed to the nines, obviously gay, and need a ride forty miles into town.
  • Two guys, one in a wheelchair, had had their car break down. The guy in a wheelchair had his hands-only driving extensions.
  • A teenage girl who wasn't trying to get a ride, but who was trying to be a prostitute. She asked me how much she should charge, because she had no experience. I said no and let her off where she asked.
  • An exhausted young woman who was walking in hundred degree temperatures while carrying her baby in a car seat. She got scared and demanded to be let out after a couple of blocks. Yay for stranger danger!
There were lots more. In the 1980s and 1990s, hitchhikers were at the bottom of the social ladder. Some of them couldn't reach the lowest rung.

Last edited by Nick Danger; 06-08-19 at 09:47 AM.
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Old 06-08-19, 10:51 AM
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Re: Have you picked up hitchhikers?

Originally Posted by Bronkster View Post
Hitch-hiked a few times, and picked up hitch-hikers a few times - 35-40 years ago. Would not even consider doing it today.
Me too, and me either.
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Old 06-08-19, 11:21 AM
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Re: Have you picked up hitchhikers?

I picked up a hitchhiker once when I was younger. Only because I saw a nice broken down car and he was dressed nice and I thought he would give me money for the ride. He did.
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Old 06-08-19, 11:53 AM
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Re: Have you picked up hitchhikers?

I have never intentionally hitchhiked, but I feel like I've gotten some rides here and there, I'll have to think on that. I remember saying "No, thank you" to a few rides in my younger years. Some felt a little creepy, others I just didn't want a ride.

I've picked up people who look like they're in tough situations. They aren't necessarily looking for a ride, and I know it can be weird if someone pulls up and offers a lift, so when I decide to do this, I tend to overshare a little, saying who I am and where I work, that sort of thing. Some have said "No, thank you" and most go for it. One woman told me to go away and leave her alone and that's okay, I get it. I've probably given a dozen rides or so, I think. I gave a young woman a ride back to her car a ways away when she would have otherwise been caught in the rain after an event we were both at, some young teens having bike tire trouble, and a group of young people who had parked on the street and were waking a few blocks to a concert venue... the complete wrong way and asked for directions as I was at a stoplight. I once gave a lift to a family with kids and a baby who had been locked out of their car at almost midnight and only the young son had the English skills for us to communicate to help us get where we needed to go.

Probably the most memorable was when I gave a young woman who was signing for laundry money a lift to McDonald's and took her out for lunch. I'd seen her out earlier that day and when I passed by the next time it was about to rain. That was a humbling experience. She had never signed before ("signing" is another name for panhandling) and she hadn't eaten and was upset that she didn't even have coins for the laundromat and this is what it came to for her. I never give money to signers, usually opting for a bag of goodies like chapstick and handwarmers, and after lunch I gave her my roll of emergency quarters because, well, it was an emergency. We kept in contact for a while for some assistance (hand-me-downs, etc.) as she was getting on her feet after the father of her baby left. I've had lunch with dozens of people who are homeless or on the brink of being on the streets and if you've never done it and you find a way to do it safely, you learn a lot about the world.
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Old 06-08-19, 12:10 PM
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Re: Have you picked up hitchhikers?

Nope. Too many psychos running around. I don't even pull over to help people with car trouble. Even people walking up to me in a parking lot asking if I have any jumper cables makes me nervous.
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Old 06-08-19, 12:45 PM
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Re: Have you picked up hitchhikers?

The last time I hitchhiked was about five years ago. There was an ice storm just before the evening rush hour, and a lot of cars couldn't make it up the hill. Mine was one of them. I left my car and started walking. I figured what the heck, and stuck out my thumb as I walked. I got a ride a few minutes later. He was a nice guy with a four wheel drive truck who drove me home.

Last edited by Nick Danger; 06-08-19 at 12:50 PM.
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Old 06-10-19, 08:42 AM
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Re: Have you picked up hitchhikers?

Ive picked up hitch hikers a few times. Mostly people that I can tell are on the Appalachian Trail (AT) and trying to get into town up in NH. Back when I was in college I did a bit of hiking myself and would do solo trips and need a ride back to my car. I didn't like doing that so I mostly did 'there and back' hikes where I could either do a loop or do a point A to B and back to A from there.. I will still pick up people near the AT but that is about it as you really can't tell with people anymore.
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Old 06-10-19, 10:54 AM
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Re: Have you picked up hitchhikers?

I have both hitchhiked and picked up hitchhikers.

Last time I hitched was probably 10 years ago. Last time I picked people up was earlier this winter.

That said, mountain culture is different (I live near to some big mountains). Hitchhiking skiers or mountain bikers who are "shuttling" (starting in one place and ending in another) is pretty common. Picking up skiers trying to get to the mountain also used to be common, but most resort areas have put in much better public transport in the last 10-15 years, so that has slowed.
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Old 06-10-19, 11:11 AM
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Re: Have you picked up hitchhikers?

Originally Posted by kd5 View Post
Me too, and me either.
Me three, and me either.
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Old 06-10-19, 11:28 AM
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Re: Have you picked up hitchhikers?

Never. I was in college in 1989, and the scene below is the reason I would never do it:

John Ryder: Gas stations have cigarettes.
Jim Halsey: What about gas?
John Ryder: I don't need gas.
Jim Halsey: What do you want? What's so funny?
John Ryder: (stops laughing) - That's what the other guy said.
Jim Halsey: What other guy?
John Ryder: That guy back there, the one we just passed. The guy who picked me up before you did.
Jim Halsey: That was him in there?
John Ryder: Sure it was. He couldn't have walked very far.
Jim Halsey: Why's that?
John Ryder: Because I cut off his legs...and his arms...and his head. And I'm going to do the same to you.
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Old 06-10-19, 01:09 PM
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Re: Have you picked up hitchhikers?

One of the few times I hitchhiked was in high school (circa 1994) when my truck broke down on a mountain pass on the return home from a snowboarding trip with my friend. I stuck my thumb out my window and about 45 seconds later a car pulled over with two women in it who gave us a ride back to civilization.

Nowadays, I'd just call for help with a cell phone.
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Old 06-10-19, 02:19 PM
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Re: Have you picked up hitchhikers?

While not technically hitchhiking, I once drove a scruffy-looking stranger that asked me for a ride to his "aunt's place" several miles away. He gave me a sob story that he had just been released from jail. No real fear as I probably had about 50 pounds of muscle on him and didn't notice any places he could conceal a weapon, so I agreed.

Stopped in for a second at a convenience store while he remained in the car. That gave him the opportunity to pilfer about $2.25 in loose change I always kept in the ashtray. I noticed it right away when I got back in the car but said nothing.

After offering to hook me up with his drug dealer and a polite decline on my part, he went on his merry way when I dropped him off at his destination.
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Old 06-10-19, 02:31 PM
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Re: Have you picked up hitchhikers?

I've done both. Nothing to tell really, very polite folks of both the ride giving and ride receiving varieties. I'm male, huge, and carry so my experiences may not be typical.
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