12 People Share Memorable Stories About Picking up Hitchhikers



There are two types of people in the world – those who choose to trust other human beings not to rape and murder them and those who, under no circumstances, trust other not to rape and murder them. The former are more likely to pick up hitchhikers now and then.

If you fall into the latter category, maybe some of these funny and heartwarming stories will change your mind!

Or not.

#12. His name was Walter

“On my road trip to LA from NJ I happened upon a hitch hiker, he was old, maybe 60, and walking in the middle of the desert in Texas. He had no backpack, no nothing, just the clothes on his back. I past him at first, but quickly slammed on my brakes and put it in reverse, I figure an elderly man walking in the middle of the desert isn’t looking to rob, rape, or kill anyone.

Once I pulled over he began jogging toward my car, but with a limp. I could already see the damage the sun had done to his unprotected face through my rear-view mirror. Once he got in the car he immediately thanked me, you could hear the desperation and dehydration in his voice. I gave him a bottle of water and then asked where he was headed, before I could finish my sentence he had finished the water.

He said he was headed to Phoenix to go back home to his wife, he had this deep southern accent akin to Boomhauer from King of the Hill. Since I had family in Gilbert and was headed that way to begin with, I figure whats the big deal, it was only going to be and extra hour of driving.

At first he was very short with answering the questions that I asked, not that he was rude, just exhausted. When asked how many miles he had walked since his last ride he replied, with relief, “only 60” as if expecting to walk 200.

I had a McDonald’s gift card that my girlfriend sent me for the road trip, which I didn’t consider using because McDonald’s is a diarrhea factory and I wanted to make good time without having to sh*t on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere every 5 minutes, but this guy looked like he hadn’t had a meal in a day or two. I pulled to the drive-thru of the next one I came across and asked him to order anything he liked. He seemed to become more chipper and have more energy once the opiates from the cheese hit him…and I must confess to the purchase of some french fries for myself.

After that McDonald’s stop there were no more rest stops or gas stations for miles, about 2 hours into the journey through the desert my car began to stall out…

Looking at my quarter tank of gas I couldn’t figure why my car was acting up, before my road trip I had my uncle (mechanic his whole life) look over my car a fix everything that needed to be fixed, change the fluids, the whole 9. I naturally had a GPS and ran a search for the nearest gas station…which was 22 miles away… trust me when I say my car sounded like it couldn’t even make 1 more mile.

I immediately started going in the direction of the suggested route , keep in mind there is nothing but desert and mountains as far as the eye can see. My car kept on “put putting” its way like those sickly cars would you see in cartoons. At that moment I realized why getting cheap gas doesn’t pay off in the long run, clearly it was a bad mix and my car was trying to burn something that couldn’t.

After stalling several times I eventually reached my destination, and it was the smallest f*cking town I had ever seen. The gas station was there just like the gps said, well, at least what was ever left from the fire that hit it maybe about 5 months prior. All while this is going on my guest just kinda sat there quietly, probably to nervous to say anything in fear of possibly adding to my frustration. I stall again.

I get out and walk a little bit, taking my keys of course. I don’t walk more than 50 feet before finding the first sign of life, a man watering his pavement….yes….he was watering his pavement….again…small f*cking town in the middle of nowhere. I asked if the gas station that burnt down was the only one in town and to my delight it was not. There was one more about a mile into town, I got in my car and with a ‘put put putter’ my engine turned over and got me the rest of the way.

Once I got to the gas station I loaded up on some snacks and drinks knowing I still had about 10hrs of driving ahead of me. By the way, at the checkout in the gas station/bar/grocery store, I asked the attendant how many people live in town…He said 315…he knew the exact f*cking number…they had a population smaller that my high school.

Any way…having that old man hitch hiker in the car while all that was going on made it seem much more like an adventure, it gave me a little more motivation to solve the problem rather than just calling AAA, don’t really know why…just did. From that point on it was smooth sailing.

Once we got back on the road we began the awkward dance of finding a common musical interest that we can tolerate for the next 10 hours until we reach Phoenix. I mainly enjoy music like JUSTICE and Kavinsky on these long road trips, Electro keeps me awake. Being the southern type he liked country, I’d rather be raped. Low and behold there was one group we both shared a common affinity for, leave it to the Beatles.

With there only being about 2 hrs left until we reached Phoenix I began to pry about why an elderly man such as himself was hitch hiking in the first place. Turns out he was younger then he looked, he was 53, but man was his story sad. Having lost his job of 20 years as a janitor he moved to Tennessee to work at a construction site, at his age! I guess maybe due to budget cuts about a third of there workers got sh*t canned only after about 7 months after the start of the project, probably to be replaced by cheaper labor. In these economic times I bet people would work for just about any wage, he had no other choice but to head back home.

With his last check in hand he headed to the back to cash it in order to fund his trip back home. With a good chunk of change in his pocket he purchased a Grey Hound bus ticket and gave a call to his wife tell her he is on his way. Once the bus started to board, tragedy struck.

Two guys jumped him, probably having seen his cash while he was paying for his ticket. He put up a fight, defending of course the only money he had left to his name, only then to get stabbed twice in the chest. He almost died and had to spend about a month in the hospital to recover without having any health insurance what-so-ever. He wracked a bill I am sure in the thousands.

Side Note: I raged when he told me about the fat f*ck security guard at Grey Hound that just witnessed all this without doing a god damn thing.

He showed me the scars on his chest, the hospital kicked him out as soon as they could, because f*ck the poor and destitute, America Rules! His wife was barley making the rent, so he decided instead of burdening her with the cost of having to buy him a bus ticket he decided to hitch it.

From Tennessee to Texas only truckers picked him up and dropped him off at whatever rest stop they stumbled upon before diverting in a direction other than west. I was the only passenger vehicle to stop for him.

I am glad that I picked up a hitch hiker, it made me feel good doing something for a complete stranger in need for no reason other than for the common good. Just remember there are f*cked up people in this world, people who will do bad things in the face of charity and kindness, but there are also people who are just down on there luck looking for a ride home, where ever that may be.

And for those of you who are wondering…his name was Walter.”

#11. Doing it for the kids

“For the past year I’ve tried to pull over when I see someone by an broken down car. I don’t drive much, but I’ve probably pulled over about fifteen times. This past summer I was on my way back to school and saw a guy who was sitting in his car on the side of the road so I pull over to see if he needs any help. He was broken down, had no phone, and was 2 hours from his home so I let him use my phone to call whoever he needed. I’ve always thought that I wouldn’t pick up a hitchhiker because…well…I don’t know what would happen. But after he got off the phone I asked if he needed anything else and he asked for a ride to the nearest gas station (20 minutes away). I didn’t even think about it and told him to get in the car. If I had thought before answering I doubt I would have offered…but I gave him a ride and no trouble came to me.

I felt terrible for the guy. He was 25 and was already divorced and lived 3 hours from his kids. So ever other weekend he drove three hours in his early 90s piece of sh*t car to see his kids. I knew he hated his life except for his kids…good god I could tell he loved his kids. I can only hope that someday I’m as loving of a father as he is.”

#10. Remember to pay it forward

“My friend and I were pulling onto the highway yesterday when suddenly a Mexican looking kid waived us down and ran up to our window. He was carrying a suit case, the big ones like we take on international vacations and it seemed as if he had been walking for a some time. Judging from his appearance I figured he was prob 20-21 years old. He asked us if he could get a ride to “Grayhun”. We both looked at each other and understood that he was saying Greyhound, and the only Greyhound bus stop in town was at this gas station a few miles down the road. It was cold and windy out and we had some spare time so we told him to jump in.

Initially thoughts run through your head and you wonder… I wonder whats in that suitcase…is he going to put a knife to my neck from behind the seat… kilos of coke from Mexico because this is South Texas?… a chopped up body?…but as we began to drive I saw the sigh of relief through the rear view mirror and realized this kid is just happy for a ride. When we got to the gas station, my friend walked in and double checked everything to make sure it was the right spot but to our surprise the final bus for Houston left for the day. The next bus at 6:00 p.m. was in a town 25 miles over. We tried explaining this to him, I should have payed more attention in the Spanish I and II they forced us to take in High School. The only words I can really say are si and comprende. My friend and I said f*ck it lets drop him off, and turned to him and said ” listen we are going to eat first making hand gestures showing spoons entering mouth and we will drop you off after” but homeboy was still clueless and kept nodding.

We already ordered Chinese food and began driving in that direction and when we got there, he got out of the car and went to the trunk as if the Chinese Restaurant was the bus stop. We tell him to come in and eat something first, leave the suitcase in the car. He is still clueless. When we go in, our food was already ready. We decided to eat there so he could eat as well. When the hostess came over, she looked spanish so I asked her I was like hey listen we picked this guy up from the street, he missed his bus and the next one is 25 miles over can you tell him that after we are done eating we will drop him off its ok no problems… and she was kinda taken by it and laughed, translated it to the guy, and for the next 10 mins all he kept saying was thank you. After we jumped into the car, I turned to him in the back and was like listen its 25 miles, I’m rolling a spliff, do you smoke? He still had no clue, but when we sparked it up, and passed it his way he smoked it like a champ. He had very broken English, but said he was from Ecuador and he was in America looking for a job to make money for his family back home. Like I said he was prob 20-21 years old. Shorly after, we arrived at our destination, and said farewell. Dropped him off at some store where he would have to sit on a bench outside for the next hour.. but I did my best. I hope he made it to wherever he had to go.

My man got picked up, fed sweet and sour chicken, smoked a spliff and got a ride to a location 30 mins away. I hope he will do the same for someone else one day.”

#9. Thank you for your service

“I was driving home for Christmas from college once and about 30 miles from home, at an intersection on the outskirts of a mid-size town, I saw what was unmistakably a body. It lay some distance from the road on a snowy field, motionless. I pulled over, walked to the edge of the road, and called out “Hey, are you okay?” not expecting an answer but I had no idea what to do — I had no cell phone and it was quiet and freezing, and I was alone.

As soon as I called out, a head popped up out of the snow. A dude dressed in a soldier uniform carrying a big rucksack starts running at me full-tilt, yelling “Ride? ride?” I was thoroughly freaked but told him of course and he got in. I cranked the heat to try to warm him up and we started down the road, while he shook and shook.

It turned out he was heading for my tiny hometown where his wife was living, but couldn’t find any bus or train routes that directly connected to it (it’s really just a bump in the road). He’d been out there in the cold for quite a while before getting too cold and tired to even stand. A uniformed soldier couldn’t get anyone to stop and give him a ride in winter on a rural road. The only reason that made any sense, although neither of us said it, was because he was a very dark-skinned man and my hometown’s in a very white state. It made me feel sad and ashamed.

I also felt ashamed because I was scared of him too. I’d been in sketchy situations with dudes, and every time I felt so stupid, and now I was driving alone with a man who’d been a corpse in my mind just moments before. I started to hear a True Crimes narrator in my head saying “Her family was waiting for her by the Christmas tree, but she was never seen again…” blah blah blah. So I was scared, and hating myself for being stupid, and also hating myself for being scared just like every other jerk who’d left him there to freeze.

I started leaning heavier and heavier on the gas pedal and then, out of nowhere, there were police lights in my rearview pulling me over. I was dumb enough to be relieved until the cop shined his light on us, made a face, and then shined his light on the soldier’s bag where an open container of Jack sat clearly visible. I explained, in my scared little white girl way, that I didn’t know it was there, that I didn’t know the man in my car, but he’d been freezing by the road and I was just trying to get us both home…and that f*cker went and wrote me a ticket. Then he drove off in the opposite direction, instead of taking the soldier home himself or following us on the desolate road to be sure everything was okay. My internal monologue started right up again: “At 4:53 pm, her vehicle was pulled over by Officer Dickhead, who observed a large male in her passenger seat. Dickhead was the last person to see her alive. Now he’s being sued by the grieving family for 1 billion dollars.” Then I looked at the soldier’s face, and it was sadder and more scared than mine.

Soon enough we get to my little town, and I drive him to his wife’s house. We’ve barely spoken, but he takes out a fistful of cash and insists on paying for the ticket. I started crying, but he wouldn’t let me give it back.

When I got to my family and tried to tell them what happened they just gave me that all-too-familiar you’re too stupid to live look, because obviously I’d narrowly escaped certain death by picking up a man who would have certainly been dead otherwise. For the life of me, I don’t know why I told them. I knew better.

I still stop when someone needs help, and I’ve been lucky that people have always stopped for me. I live 2500 miles from my hometown now–in Oregon, as a matter of fact, where rhoner just become my favorite neighbor I don’t know. I don’t go back for holidays. I like Christmas a lot more these days.”

#8. Like a hero

“I picked up a hitch-hiker on his way to his sister’s wedding. I got some wedding cake out of it. The bride treated me like a hero.”

#7. Godspeed, Garth

“I’ve picked up numerous hitchikers but one in particular stands out. His name was Garth. Garth was a hell of dude with a hell of a story. This is the encounter between my friends and Garth.

After graduating high school, myself and 4 friends decided to take a long road trip over the summer and Glacier National Park was our Mecca for the trip. We found ourselves camping in the middle of nowhere in the woods of NW Montana, some 25 miles north of Missoula. We camped illegally and got drunk and stoned and pretty much stayed up all night.

In the morning, I woke up in the drivers seat of my car to see some dude walking by in the road which was 40 yards away from our campsite. The guy walking couldn’t see us just passing by but I could see him. I was still half drunk so I decided to yell at him, not even thinking that it could be the owner of the land that we were illegally camping on. He did a 180 and stared straight at me and began walking towards me. He had a single backpack, a big tree limb for a walking stick and looked exhausted and hungry. He looked like the Big Lebowski mixed with Saul from Pineapple Express but acted like someone who had just had their ass kicked, mentally and physically. He looked like someone had suck his soul out of him. My friends had heard me yelling for him so they had stirred awake to find to their surprise, Garth sitting in one of our lawnchairs eating our stale Doritos like he hadn’t eaten anything in days. We would later learn that was actually true.

It was about 10 AM by the time we decided to leave the campsite and head back to Missoula to find food. Garth hopped in the car and began to tell his story of how he ended up in the middle of nowhere Montana. He sat shotgun and talked while my friend sat behind him, ready for Garth to try to kill us or something crazy. The story that Garth told us was f*cking crazy. It basically went something like this. Some dude he met in Missoula promised him some work on his land. Apparently, the guy bought some land and needed some trees and brush cleared so he could start building a house. He said he would let Garth stay on his land for the night and meet him their in the morning with some tools and some food so they could work all day to clear this brush. Well, one day went by, then another…..and another and another. The guy never showed up and Garth was on this guy’s land for 5 F*CKING DAYS WITH NO FOOD OR SHELTER. He luckily had a stream of water on “his land” that Garth drank to keep hydrated but catching food was next to impossible. He said he could hear coyotes very close to him at night and one morning he woke up to a Bull Moose 30 yards away from, snorting and stomping it’s hooves on the ground, ready to charge. Garth ran up a tree and stayed there for the rest of the day.

He said he didn’t want to leave the land because he had no idea where he was and he was hoping that the guy would show up to take him back to town. It wasn’t until this particular morning that he said he was so hungry and cold that he thought he was going to die if he didn’t start walking somewhere. Garth said he started following a logging road with the hope it would lead him somewhere. He had been walking all night with no signs of anything. He actually thought he was walking in circles. He said that the coyotes were howling and he was the most scared he had ever been in his life. We were the first sign of people he had seen in almost 6 days.

After told us this story we were said we wanted to buy him a lunch and some beers and a coat. He immediately declined…he seemed embarrassed by the situation, especially because some 18 year olds were going to buy him this stuff. We understood where he was coming from but this guy just had 6 days of hell in the woods and he deserved a hot meal. He finally said he would eat lunch with us so we took him to a chinese buffet were he ate down 4 fat plates, LIKE A BOSS!

After lunch he asked us to take him to the homeless shelter in town so he could get a shower and get a bed for the night. We agreed and took him across town to drop him off. The car ride over was quiet, mainly because Garth dosed off, probably from his exhaustion. He was still sleeping when we got to the homeless shelter. We woke him up and he thanked us a million times and stumbled into the shelter. My friends and I were floored by his story. We didn’t say much as we hit the road north to Glacier National Park, until we noticed something on the floor by the front seat. His f*cking BACKPACK.

We were 40 miles north of town and didn’t even think about what to do. We pulled over and turned around to take his backpack to him at the shelter. We contemplated opening it for a good 15 minutes. We thought it would be wrong and that we wouldn’t want someone to do that to our pack. But our curiosity got the best of us and we decided to open it. Garth was to EPIC to not find out what he had in there to aid in his wilderness adventure. We joked about what would be in there – a bloody knife, a head, some sort of body part. What we found was truly unbelievable. We found out that Garth was Bi-Polar and Diabetic based on his medications. He had some oral glucose gel to combat his low blood sugar, a blood sugar machine and zoloft (anti-depressant). It blew my mind that this man, a diabetic would even think about staying in the woods for this long while knowing he was a Diabetic. We also found a notebook that had some sketches and writings, mainly about his travels around the pacific northwest. I wanted to read more but we had reached the shelter to return his pack.

Garth was a f*cking man if i had ever met one. We thought he could use a little help so we put $100 in his pack before we gave it back to him. He was inside sitting at a table when we arrived with his pack. I held out the pack and just said, “I think you forgot something man”. He stood up and ran over to me, grabbed it and then gave me a huge bear hug and started crying. He told me, while he was hugging me, that he thought that he had just lost everything he owned after we dropped him off. It was weird but I felt like I had to hug him back, so I did. He followed us back out to our car and thanked us again and offered us a cup of coffee, we declined and said we had to be on our way to get there before dark. He understood and even offered to take a look at our car’s oil and other stuff before we headed out! We said no, said goodbye and drove off to the corner.

We were stuck at a traffic light and I could still see him in the review mirror, probably 50-60 yards behind us. He knelt down to dig through his backpack. He took out his glucometer, his notebook and then the $100 we had put in there. He saw it and started running after us, either to thank us or to try to give it back. The light turned green and we drove off before he got to us. I stood out the car window gave him a wave and a Peace Sign. He responded with a salute and the biggest smile I’ve ever seen. We drove off and we never saw him again.

This was our encounter with Garth, the world’s manliest hobo. Wherever you are Garth, Godspeed my good man!”

#6. Hitching is a common language

“I live in Japan and I once picked up two guys hitchking. They had come from Okinawa (at the very southern end), hitched all the way up to Hokkaido and were now hitching back. When I dropped them off they gave me a candy bar, and we posed for photos because they were collecting pictures of everyone who gave them lifts along the way.

This was kinda a pay it forward thing for me, because in Australia our Japanese exchange student got lost one time and some random guy picked him up and drove him to our house, dropped him off and drove off again without ever saying anything. This kid spoke NO English either.”

#5. Always be the crazier one

“I use to give rides but I have since stopped after one crazy encounter. I picked up this young white dude who was probably around 20-25 on the outskirts of Memphis heading South. I was on my way home from work so it was late in the afternoon. I typically stopped on the way home and got a six pack. From time to time I’d crack open a cold one for the ride since it was the better part of an hour. The young man said he had been hitching since California and was on his way to his sister’s in Florida with a job lined up at Disney. I asked him how his journey had been thus far to which he started in on why he left California. This is also when I realized this dude was bat sh*t crazy and I needed to drop him off sooner rather than later.

He tells me how his wife cheated on him with a lawyer and eventually left and divorced him for said lawyer. After the wife/lawyer team cleaned him out he decided to get the f*ck out of California as the lawyer was using his connections to try and get dude thrown in jail. Then he described how the lawyer had hired private eyes and other none savory types to try and entrap him as he crossed the country. He even said a one man whirly bird had followed him across most of Arkansas and he had to travel at night to avoid being spotted by it. The further he got into the story the more agitated he seemed to become. It was troubling to say the least.

I always carried a pistol in my truck and it was easily with in reach but I figured my best bet to avoid being stabbed by this dude was to out crazy him. I cracked open a brew, offered him one and started with my story I was making up as I went. I told him I knew how he must feel having been cheated on. I went on that I’d been out of the joint for about 6 months and was adjusting well. He asked me what I was in for and I told him I’d gotten really drunk, blacked out and when I came to I had went crazy with a box cutter on my ex and the dude she was cheating on me with. He got really quiet and didn’t really say anything else until we got to my town. I dropped him off at the truck stop near the interstate and never saw him again.

TL;DR Out crazied a hitch hiker and most likely won’t be picking up another one.”

#4. Gardening supplies ftw?

“My husband and I were leaving the grocery store and witnessed a big dramatic mulch theft. Yes, someone grabbed a bag of mulch, tossed it in their jeep and sped off, tires squealing, jumping curbs…it was confusing and hilarious. The high school clerks were mostly indifferent, but there were a couple employees freaking out and running after the jeep. Then we turn around and there is this girl standing there with her jaw hanging open, and holding a box of donuts. She just looks at us and says/demands “I need a ride. I don’t know why he just did that. That’s my cousin.” The employees who were freaking out, kind of turn and start coming toward her now that the jeep is gone. So we were like “uh..ok lets go.” She lived like 2 miles away in the mobile home park, sure enough the jeep was parked in the drive. For some reason her cousin just totally ditched her for a $4 bag of mulch.”

#3. Mind your business

“My roommate (a straight laced, straight-A girl) and I were at the college grocery one night at about 1AM buying foodstuffs, when a very skinny woman approached me. She said, she and her husband had their car repossessed in the lot, and will I give them a ride to their apartment (about 3 miles away). So, I tell them, “sure, let me finish up,” and I’ll give them a ride.

My roommate was having none of it, and was very upset. I told her, “it’s okay, sh*t happens to people, sometimes you should just be nice.”

So, we finish at the checkout, get the bags and the people, go to my car, and drive them to the apartment. They get out, no harm done.

About 2 weeks later, I’m back at the grocery with my roommate, and the same woman with a different man comes up. Same story, car repossessed, etc. I tell them, “sure I’ll give you a ride, just don’t lie. He’s not your husband, you used this line on me a couple of weeks ago. I don’t know what he is, and I don’t want to know, but sure I’ll do it.” She was taken aback, and seemed surprised, but accepts anyway.

Again, roommate is pissed, again no incidents.

I suspect the woman was a prostitute, and these were her Johns, but who am I to judge. As long as they don’t hurt anyone, I don’t care.”

#2. In the genes

“I have. I picked up a guy down in Dayton and drove him 30 miles north. He smelled funny but was nice. He was telling me about this driver in Tennessee who purposely hit him with their car. He had a huge gash on his arm it looked knarly. As chance would have it I had recently got a piercing so I had a tube of neosporin with me it wasn’t much but I gave it to him when I dropped him off. I was a tad nervous picking up an older male hitchhiker since I am a female and at the time I was maybe 19 but I am glad I did it. When I was younger my mom brought home 2 hitchhikers and they stayed with us for a few days….so maybe it’s genetic.”

#1. Grab the tissues

“Just about every time I see someone I stop. I kind of got out of the habit in the last couple of years, moved to a big city and all that, my girlfriend wasn’t too stoked on the practice. Then some sh*t happened to me that changed me and I am back to offering rides habitually. If you would indulge me, it is long story and has almost nothing to do with hitch hiking other than happening on a road.

This past year I have had 3 instances of car trouble. A blow out on a freeway, a bunch of blown fuses and an out of gas situation. All of them were while driving other people’s cars which, for some reason, makes it worse on an emotional level. It makes it worse on a practical level as well, what with the fact that I carry things like a jack and extra fuses in my car, and know enough not to park, facing downhill, on a steep incline with less than a gallon of fuel.

Anyway, each of these times this sh*t happened I was DISGUSTED with how people would not bother to help me. I spent hours on the side of the freeway waiting, watching roadside assistance vehicles blow past me, for AAA to show. The 4 gas stations I asked for a gas can at told me that they couldn’t loan them out “for my safety” but I could buy a really sh*tty 1-gallon one with no cap for $15. It was enough, each time, to make you say sh*t like “this country is going to hell in a handbasket.”

But you know who came to my rescue all three times? Immigrants. Mexican immigrants. None of them spoke a lick of the language. But one of those dudes had a profound affect on me.

He was the guy that stopped to help me with a blow out with his whole family of 6 in tow. I was on the side of the road for close to 4 hours. Big jeep, blown rear tire, had a spare but no jack. I had signs in the windows of the car, big signs that said NEED A JACK and offered money. No dice. Right as I am about to give up and just hitch out there a van pulls over and dude bounds out. He sizes the situation up and calls for his youngest daughter who speaks english. He conveys through her that he has a jack but it is too small for the Jeep so we will need to brace it. He produces a saw from the van and cuts a log out of a downed tree on the side of the road. We rolled it over, put his jack on top, and bam, in business. I start taking the wheel off and, if you can believe it, I broke his tire iron. It was one of those collapsible ones and I wasn’t careful and I snapped the head I needed clean off. F*ck.

No worries, he runs to the van, gives it to his wife and she is gone in a flash, down the road to buy a tire iron. She is back in 15 minutes, we finish the job with a little sweat and cussing (stupid log was starting to give), and I am a very happy man. We are both filthy and sweaty. The wife produces a large water jug for us to wash our hands in. I tried to put a 20 in the man’s hand but he wouldn’t take it so I instead gave it to his wife as quietly as I could. I thanked them up one side and down the other. I asked the little girl where they lived, thinking maybe I could send them a gift for being so awesome. She says they live in Mexico. They are here so mommy and daddy can pick peaches for the next few weeks. After that they are going to pick cherries then go back home. She asks if I have had lunch and when I told her no she gave me a tamale from their cooler, the best f*cking tamale I have ever had.

So, to clarify, a family that is undoubtedly poorer than you, me, and just about everyone else on that stretch of road, working on a seasonal basis where time is money, took an hour or two out of their day to help some strange dude on the side of the road when people in tow trucks were just passing me by. Wow…

But we aren’t done yet. I thank them again and walk back to my car and open the foil on the tamale cause I am starving at this point and what do I find inside? My f*cking $20 bill! I whirl around and run up to the van and the guy rolls his window down. He sees the $20 in my hand and just shaking his head no like he won’t take it. All I can think to say is “Por Favor, Por Favor, Por Favor” with my hands out. Dude just smiles, shakes his head and, with what looked like great concentration, tried his hardest to speak to me in English:

“Today you…. tomorrow me.”

Rolled up his window, drove away, his daughter waving to me in the rear view. I sat in my car eating the best f*cking tamale of all time and I just cried. Like a little girl. It has been a rough year and nothing has broke my way. This was so out of left field I just couldn’t deal.

In the 5 months since I have changed a couple of tires, given a few rides to gas stations and, once, went 50 miles out of my way to get a girl to an airport. I won’t accept money. Every time I tell them the same thing when we are through:

“Today you…. tomorrow me.”