Yesterday as I walking home from the train station, a smiling man in a blue truck stopped to ask me if I wanted a ride. I paused for a brief moment, then smiled, thanked him and said I was enjoying the nice weather and the exercise. The thing is--I really wanted a ride. As usual, I had to pee REALLY BAD, my briefcase was REALLY heavy and I was REALLY tired.
From the time I could walk, my mother, grandmother, aunts, and television have taught me to believe that you should NEVER EVER get into a stranger's car or let a stranger into your car. Especially a male stranger. Bad things happen to girls in cars. As my husband continuously reminds me, Men do not want to be friends with women. They are only interested in one thing. The one thing is the 'bad thing' that can happen to girls in cars. Of course I understand the rationale behind this. I certainly would not want my daughter to get into a potential ax-murdering rapist's car.
So even though this man might have been a good samaritan, my suspicions kicked in. Why does he want to give me a ride? His smile looks a little TOO friendly. Maybe he wants to find out where I live, so he can come back later and rob me. What would I do if he locked the doors and refused to take me home unless I performed the 'one thing'?
It's not as if I live in a high crime area. Although philly has distinguished itself as having one of the highest murder rates in the country, I live 15 miles away in the bucolic town of Media (where nothing bad is ever supposed to happen). So my truck-driving good samaritan could have just escaped from the city jail and is cruising the small towns for easy prey. Or he could be a neighbor, who runs an underground porn ring for fetishists, who like reasonably attractive middle aged women.
As I try to concentrate on not PEEING my pants, I wonder if there is a magic age where it is SAFE to accept a ride from a stranger. As Christians, we are all called to pass it forward--show kindness and compassion, while helping those in need. I deprived this man from his daily dose of good will. When I'm 68 and STILL walking home from the train station (because I can't afford to retire), will it be all right to get into a stranger's car?