Clinic Stories

The Letter of the Law

While hitchhiking as a teenager in 1972 I was dropped off on Route 80 near Cheyenne, Wyoming. While standing on the road waiting for a ride a state policeman pulled up and told me what I was doing was illegal. He quoted the state law, “It is illegal to stand on a highway for the purpose of soliciting a ride.” He told me I had to figure out something else and repeated that it was illegal to stand on the road and hitch hike, then left.

Since everything about the interaction indicated that hitchhiking was legal if a person is not standing I sat on my backpack and stuck out my thumb. Within a few minutes a van pulled over to give me a ride. The driver's first words were, “I see you know the law in Wyoming.” A good-natured policeman and critical thinking got me on my way.

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