Clinic Stories

The Kindness of Strangers

After hiking for a few days in Pennsylvania, I came out of the woods in the early afternoon and started to hitchhike back to my car. It seemed like a straight forward route, a few miles to a highway and take that road 35 miles to another cross road near the car. Although quite a few cars came by, it was over an hour to get to the highway. Once there I quickly got a ride in the back of a truck next to a washing machine. Unfortunately the driver dropped me off along a stretch of road with farms on both sides. I alternately walked and waited but no one stopped.

I came to a convenience store with gas pumps and waited there figuring that cars leaving the gas station would be more likely to stop. Hours went by with no luck. I walked to the pumps and offered to pay for a ride back to my car, again without success. After 5 PM the road was all but abandoned.

Finally a pick up pulled in and I pleaded my case to the driver. He said he would be glad to give me a ride but he had burgers on the grill and just came for buns. He did, however, offer for me to , have dinner with his family and afterward he would take me to my car. I decided to wait.

I called my son and discussed the situation. He offered to come to get me but I reasoned that I could walk the last 14 miles in about the same time it would take him to get there. So, I began to walk.

In less than a half mile there was a lonely house with an elderly man on the front porch. He gave me a friendly wave, I walked a few more steps, then figured - what do I have to lose? I walked to the porch, introduced myself and explained my situation. He was only too happy to give me a ride. We had a pleasant conversation, we both graduated from Penn State and he said he would visit his daughter who lived just three miles from where I was parked. I offered to pay him. He refused.

It's refreshing to be reminded how good people can be.

Back to Top