Tuesday, February 17, 2009


A teenaged black boy flagged me down in the middle of the road on the outskirts of a rough neighborhood. I was leaving a park not far away from the university, and I was on my way back to work. He was in the middle of the road, and he didn't give me much choice but to stop. It was a narrow road with a ditch on my side.

I cracked my window a little bit to see what he needed, and he told me his car was broken down and he was trying to get to work. I didn't see any car. He asked me if I could give him a lift to a place that was much further than where I was actually going...but that notwithstanding...I really felt uneasy about letting him in my car.

He asked to use my phone, and I let him. He called someone, then asked me if I would speak to the man he called. I was a little uncomfortable, but I took the phone. The man introduced himself as the boy's father, and asked if I would give the boy a ride to work. I told him that I was sorry, but I really couldn't do that. I handed the phone back to the boy, they spoke a few more minutes, and he handed me back my phone. I told him I hoped he understood why I couldn't give him a ride, and he said he did. He then asked me for some money to buy a drink. (It really was a hot day, last summer.) I gave him a couple of bucks and went on back to work.

I was feeling guilty because I'd left him there. What if he was just a nice young man trying to get to work, willing to start out walking in the hot summer sun to get there? I consoled myself by thinking that really, in this day and age, I couldn't just give a complete stranger a ride somewhere, and that I really had more than just myself to think about.

That next morning, I got a phone call from the boys father. The boy hadn't been seen since he started out walking, and his few minutes with me were the last contact his family had had with him. I got one more phone call from the dad, and then one from his grandmother later that evening.

I never did find out what happened to the boy. I was just thinking about him this morning.


  1. Wow! That's terrible...I wonder how it turned out too. But in your situation I would have done the same thing. You just can't let someone you don't know into the car with you....& there are people I know I wouldn't let into the car with me. You can't feel responsible for this situation. because in reality you still don't know what kind of people they were. I just pray that it all worked out just fine!

    By your background, I see you must be having a birthday! Happy Birthday Meg!

  2. You told me to get back to writing, but your writing has me much more intrigued right now than my own. My parents knew a young guy whom they used to say acted like Jesus. He took care of everyone, comforted everyone, spent all his free time doing charity work & basic good deeds, gave any cash away and always said God would take care of him, my parents did not need to worry.

    Well, two teens he'd picked up robbed the less than $20 bucks he had on him(which he would have freely given them, I am sure, based upon past performance) & killed him.

    I do pick up hitchhikers and have let a homeless man & his friend(at times) stay in my home. EVERYONE THINKS I AM WRONG TO DO THIS. And of course, I think I am right, and nothing has ever happened. YET. I don't have children or grandchildren depending on me as you do, and I think you made the right choice. I do things for emotional reasons.....that doesn't make them right. You did the right thing based upon what you knew and what you saw.
    ps I would call the father back to check up on the situation. I think this will bother you for a very long time if you don't get closure on it.

  3. wow Meg! what an experience!! I would have been like you, though, so leery. In looking back, you probably thought of so many different ways you might have handled it but I think you did the right thing for that particular situation. but wow!! I tend to act first, think later so I probably would have given him a ride, but I just don't know.....you know???


    Happy birthday if it is your birthday soon or here or now or whenever it is!


  4. Hi! I have thought about your blof all day long and can not say I would have done anything differently. Had you let him in the car , something may have happened to you.

  5. I can see why you didn't let him ride. So much meaness is going on. You had no idea if he was talking to his dad or someone else pretending to be and was setting you up. It wouldn't hurt to call that number back if you still have it to find out if he came on in home or not. Helen

  6. Hi Meg,
    Sorry I haven't been by in a while. I just haven't been inclined much since JLand shut down. I was bogged down with alerts and feeling overwhelmed shortly before that, feeling like I had to read every journal on AOL (or so it felt, if you know what I mean) and I don't feel I have much to write about. That being said, I think of you often. Happy Birthday!! It IS YOUR bithday this week?
    What a story you shared. Like Helen said it wouldn't hurt to call them back or maybe even check with the authorities to see if anything happened to a young black man in that area. You can't feel bad. If he was REALLY broken down, why did he not use your phone to call a wrecker or ask his father if he or someone could come help him out. You cannot be too careful these days. Isn't that unfortunate?
    Hope all is well with you and yours.
    Hugs, Barb

  7. Unfortunately, in this day and age you have to be careful. You did nothing wrong, and allowed him to use your phone. I would call the local police in that area and see if he has even been reported missing and share what happened. Just a suggestion!

  8. Did you get there names? The boy or the father? Do a reverse phone number look up online and see if it is listed under a name and call the police department...see if this boy was reported as missing and tell them your story. It could be some kind of con going on, they may be aware of it or not and it could just be as real as the father is making it seem...BUT my red flags go off and I think it is fishy!

    I would have not given him a ride. Why didnt the father come get him? I would have offered to sit and wait with hiim until the father could get there, call a cab or call his work...did he call his work to see if someone from work could come get him? Seems strange he didn't have his own phone....money...etc.

    I think you made the right decision.


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