She carried a drug store sack and was sipping from a fast-food cup. “Can you give me a ride to the other side of the highway? There’s no safe way for me to walk across.”
I didn’t want this stranger in my car, her shoulder right next to mine, but––familiar with the area––I knew she was right. Besides, you can’t leave a woman stranded. I grabbed my purse from the passenger seat, shoved it into the back, underneath my sun shield. “Okay,”
She climbed in. “You know where the highway is?”
“Yeah, I live on the other side. Miserable day to be out. Too hot.”
“Heat’s not so bad. My legs gave out.”
Awkward silence. At the light, I maneuvered to go straight.
“No. Turn right. Get on the highway.”
She directed me in the opposite direction from home. Police would have to track my cell phone signal to find my abandoned car. God knows where they’d find my body. “What’s your exit?”
“Get off here. Go to the stop sign.”
We were in a rural neighborhood, overgrown trees, no sidewalks. Her boyfriend would spring out of the woods waving a gun. “What stop sign?”
Around the bend, foliage gave way to a sunny intersection––and a stop sign.
“Thanks for the ride. Have a good day.”
Still tense, I headed home. Was she afraid of strangers when she asked for rides? Wait a minute. I was the stranger.
I've got to tell you, that proved to be far less scarey than being me.