My mom adventures in Fort Collins

The time I picked up a hitchhiker (with my baby in the backseat)
February 20, 2012, 4:41 pm
Filed under: Parenting | Tags: , , , , ,

I had almost forgotten about this whole story. It stumbled out of my subconscious recently, and I’m not sure what triggered it. Maybe it was my previous post suggesting that the #1 worst-ever thing I’ve done to my children was burn them (or watch them burn themselves). Yeah, strike that. I think this one takes the cake.

Well, he really didn't look anything like this guy, but I thought it was a good photo. Courtesy of

So, yeah, there was this one time I gave a stranger a ride, whilst my precious baby lay sleeping in her bucket seat in the back of the car. To be clear, I didn’t drive him from St. Louis to Tallahassee, I gave him a ride that couldn’t have been more than a mile.
This happened in Denver when Scout was little, so maybe early 2008. The man first approached me in the parking lot of a grocery store. He told me that he lives in Fort Collins and had come to Denver with his girlfriend to meet her family. Apparently, it didn’t go well and now he needed a way to get back to Fort Collins. He found out that he could take a bus from a depot downtown, but he needed money for his ticket since, yep, everything he had was left behind in the girlfriend’s car.

I felt for the guy. I saw him coming up to another person in the parking lot before he approached me. And sure, he had pock-marks on his face that might be a telltale sign of a meth addiction, but at least he was polite. So, I gave the man a few bucks.
Then he asked me how to get downtown. Seriously, have you ever tried to give directions from a parking lot to the light-rail station? I didn’t know how to tell him how to get there, but I knew how to get there. In a synapse fire that should have never happened, I thought, “I can just give him a ride.”

Yes, I gave a possibly-homeless, probably-shady, definitely-unknown-to-me man a ride to the light-rail station from the grocery store. And I had Scout with me at the time.

The whole two minute ride to the light-rail was the longest of my life. What on God’s green Earth was I doing with a stranger in my car while my baby was in the car with me? I have no idea what happened to this man next, but I dropped him off and said a little prayer of gratitude that my horrible judgement did not result in an atrocious outcome for my little Scout. Seriously? Horrible, stupid thing to do. Mommy brain might be the culprit for a lot of stupid things that I’ve done, but I’m pretty sure this is the worst decision I’ve ever made.

I did confess all of this to my husband that night. He knows me, my impulsive nature, my bleeding-heart antics. Rather than chastise me, he said, “Yeah, you probably shouldn’t do stuff like that when Scout is with you.” I’m proud to say, I’ve done nothing of the sort since then.


6 Comments so far
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I’ve done a few things with my kids that I look back on and wonder what in the world I was thinking!

Comment by becomingcliche

Thank you for your kind words. It takes a brave person to respond to a post like this!

Comment by jaymers

Kindness to strangers is admirable. He might still remember that kindness, and I’m glad that it turned out ok. This situation has not yet presented itself to me with K in the car, so I can’t say how I would respond. I’m not sure my husband be so gracious about it though!

Comment by RFL

Kindness to strangers is indeed admirable. But I’m also sure that making boneheaded decisions that affect innocent children is not so admirable. I think it was a good lesson for me to learn. Better to learn it before she has any tangible memories of her crazy mother’s antics… that will come soon enough.

Comment by jaymers

Isn’t it so sad that we live in a society that discourages human kindness? And that it’s absolutly necessary for our own safety and preservation to drive right past people who may, possibly actually need help?

I did a similar “good deed” once, picking up a mom and her daughter who were stranded by the side of the highway when their car died. I prayed to God the whole time they wouldn’t kill me or my kids in the car. How sad, but true!

Comment by brainvomit40

It’s reality. I don’t think that it should discourage any of us from doing kind things, but maybe, for me at least, thinking of the most safe and reasonable way to do them. Because it’s important to do them in front of your kids, too, right?

Comment by jaymers

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