Friday, February 5, 2010

On The Road: Madonna and Child

Up until about three years ago I would often stop and pick up hitchhikers - I had hiked long distances in my youth and felt a certain obligation towards fellow travelers.

After hearing reports of attacks on motorists, I started thinking about the dangers and, thereafter, would only stop for women or older folk.

However, when I gave a lift to two women who became obnoxious and aggressive, my attitude hardened even further.

The final straw though, was when I gave a lift to a woman on a long stretch of road. Despite the fact that I had pulled over for a pee break during the journey, instead of asking me to stop when she felt the need, she simply relieved herself on the front seat through her dress - I only discovered what she'd done after I'd dropped her off and, leaning over to get something out of the cubby, I felt the wetness on my hand ... there was an unpleasant smell in the car for weeks afterwards.

From that day on I decided, enough! - no lifts to anyone, no matter how innocent, pretty or desperate-looking - no exceptions.

Even though I know that someone will eventually stop for them, I often feel bad when passing hikers, as in this case, a woman and young child standing in the rain.

What worries me when I pass vulnerable-looking people like this is that, by traveling with me they would be safe, they will arrive at their destination unharmed. What if they're picked-up by a reckless driver or someone with bad intentions?

On the other hand, it is their choice to be on the road, should I take responsibility for their lives?

Would Mandela, or even Obama, have asked their drivers to stop as they cruised by in their limos?

What would you have done, would you have stopped for this Madonna and Child?

'Oh, think twice, it's just another day for
For you and me in paradise
Oh, think twice, it's just another day
For you, you and me in paradise
Just think about it'

Phil Collins



  1. indeed ... but not the people in the pics ...

  2. What makes you call her Madonna? It makes it harder on the answer. Will she and her son and their luggage fit in your small car?

    You are too kind. There are enough scary stories out there to pick up strangers. But there are also those moments where you imagine hitch-hiking in Namibia and a guy in a white pick-up truck picks you up. Oh where am I heading, Obama wouldn't do it, I wouldn't do it.

  3. Hey Ocean Girl,

    Your question is hard to answer too - I guess my subconscious thought was 'Who were they?' - in another time period it could have been Mary and the baby Jesus I was passing by - if you get my drift ...

    Yes, there was place in my car, but what I'm really asking is should I change my attitude about this issue and make the occasional exception - follow my intuition?

    Thanks for your candid comment.

  4. I see what ya sayin'. You see what I'm sayin'?:)

    Actually I can see why you call her Madonna, she does look like a redeemer of some kind.

  5. ..maybe she was too shy to ask for a bathroom break, as if you were her personal driver willing to wait on her..

  6. Hey Aurora, yes, I thought that may have been the reason too, in fact it probably was ...

    ... but this knowledge hasn't softened my stance on hikers - what if I pick up another shy woman? ...

  7. I'm new to your blog. I just came across it today and this is the 3rd blog post read...interesting.."madonna" and "three". For what it is worth, I totally understand where you are coming from. I think I would react exactly as you have and in that order of decision making. However, I think after a time of reflection it is good to make exceptions. Never do what you feel uncomfortable with but always trust your intuition. Mine always tells me when I am in danger and who to be wary of. In this instance, I am not sure I agree the woman had a "choice". I mean she is probably very poor. It is either hitchhike or walk and that is difficult with a small child. Even so, do not always trust a woman with a baby. Just like I wouldn't always trust a man with a collar (priest). The intuition should guide you if you know when it speaks.

  8. Oh, one more thing. Just a suggestion. If you speak the language of your woman passenger, let her know that you would rather she let you know when she needs a "pee" break so there aren't any gray areas. That might "solve" the problem.

  9. Thanks for your detailed comment and suggestions Joyful - I think that in future I'll rely on my intuition ... there is one other possible problem though ... I've heard reports of women hikers trying to blackmail male drivers by threatening to lay charges of sexual harassment against them ...

  10. That new wrinkle is indeed a problem you would want to best to rely on your intuition then. Especially if it has served you well in the past. Sometimes it takes us a bit of practise. Thanks for stopping by my blog. I will be by yours again :-)