It is true although I may have overreacted. I was driving from the college where I was teaching a night class back to my home. The college is in Tampa and my home is in Winter Haven, Florida.
I take I 4 and it is about twenty five miles. About five miles into the journey I see a man, about forty hitchhiking on the side of the road. I normally do not like to pick up hitch hikers but I did. He asked for a lift to Lake Land about ten miles down the road.
I thought I was doing a good deed. He asked me a few questions which for some reason I felt uncomfortable answering. All of a sudden he was an inquisitor and I felt I was under pressure to respond.
I mentioned I was a professor. Now I am a male so I was not afraid of him in some ways. But then he said, “Boy am I hungry”
I could see there was a McDonald’s up the road and got off. I do not know why but I felt unsafe. Just a feeling. The hair on the back of my bald head was sticking up. I pulled up to the McDonald’s and saw there was a line of cars at the pickup window so I parked handed him a ten spot and told him to go in and get us some hamburgers, fries and a couple of cokes. He was pleased as punch and went inside.
I do not know why. Maybe I was not really hungry at ten at night. Maybe I did not want a greasy burger. But I do know I did not want this stranger back in my car questioning me, eating greasy hamburgers, and in the back of my mind asking for some more money. I assume it was my paranoia and I let it get the better of me.
As soon as he entered the place I peeled off and got back on the road, leaving him with the money, food, and the idea that he won something.
Was I nuts? What would you have done?
Since then I have not picked up anyone. Better safe than sorry.