The other night, I was on my way to the Hannaford supermarket in South Burlington and I stopped at K-Mart to look at a couple of things.
On my way out to my car, a man stopped me and told me that he locked his keys in his car and wondered if I happened to be going down Pine Street because he needed a ride home.
Now, my first thought was, um, no. How stupid would I have to be to give a stranger a ride?
I mean, I am usually super cautious when I go out. I always scan the parking lots for people, walk with my head up, lock my doors as soon as I get in my car, and I know some basic self-defense techniques, though admittedly not as much as I probably should. So, of course, I know better than to offer rides to strange guys.
The thing was, this guy didn’t seem strange. I mean, he looked like a regular guy. There was nothing about his appearance that gave me reason to think that he was any type of threat. In fact, I didn’t think he was a real threat.
And I felt bad for him. The love your neighbor part of my brain really wanted to help this guy out.
Meanwhile, the logical side of my brain was telling me that, despite his harmless appearance, it was not a good idea to offer him a ride. I have a family to think about and it is my duty to keep myself safe.
I told him I was actually going to Hannaford (which is the opposite direction) and I needed to get home, which was true.
Then I mentioned that I actually would be going that way home, and said I would stop back by on my way through to see if he still needed help.
Of course, I don’t know what I would have done had he still been there because the fact remained, it would not have been wise to offer him a ride.
As it turned out, he was not there. And as I drove by, a car pulled up and he got out. Apparently, he got a ride from someone.
The point of all this is just to say that it is too bad that we live in a world where a woman cannot give a ride to a stranger in need because a small percentage of men out there are dangerous.
As I drove home, I was thankful that the man was able to get help from someone. At the same time, I couldn’t help but be dismayed at the reality that I did the right thing by not offering him a ride myself and at the horrors that take place in our world – in our own city, even – that have made it necessary.