The Day I Picked Up a Hitchhiker

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Risk more than others think is safe.
Care more than others think is wise.
Dream more than others think is practical.
Expect more than others think is possible.

—Claude Bissell

There's a story I love to tell in the presence of The Conductor, because it upsets him so much (in a cute way).

When I was 17, I spent a summer working in northern rural Indiana, at a Kentucky Fried Chicken.

One day, on my way to work on a 2-lane country road, I spotted a male adult hitchhiker. He had a large metal lunch box, like what coal miners used to carry.

I stopped and told him I could take him 10 miles to the next town, where I worked. He was headed to the same town, so climbed in.

When we reached KFC, it turned out my female boss was an old friend of this hitchhiker. They had a brief chat, but immediately my boss pointed a finger at me and said, "Don't you EVER pick up a hitchhiker AGAIN!"

The man grinned and said while he was grateful for the ride, he agreed with my boss.

When I left KFC that summer for my first year of college, my boss gave me a going away present that included a key chain with pepper spray on it.

I think she knew I would not be playing it safe.

It's always more fun to take the risk—and more enjoyable to expect the best of people.

Photo credit: Photofarrell