The Simple Beauty Of Hitchhiking

I’ve walked from my college to the railway station many times but when it was well past 9 in the evening and with the luggage wearing me down much sooner than I’d expected it to, I stopped on the side of the road and stuck my hand out to do something I can’t recall ever doing before. Hitchhiking.
My expectations were pretty low and I knew that if it came to it, I could walk my way to the station. Thankfully, I didn’t even have to wait a full minute.
The first scooter to pass by came to a halt a few feet from me. I rushed and said, “Station”, to which the guy nodded and I hopped onto it at once.
The ride was very short and all I told him was to drop me on the side of the road we were on because I didn’t want to impose myself on him. He nodded his understanding and when we parted ways a nod was his response to my thanks too.
It is only after I was inside the station and waiting for a train that wasn’t due for another hour that I started to really think about this encounter of mine and just how beautiful a thing it was.
What I just did, sticking my hand out to flag down one human amongst the innumerable who rushed down that road to solicit a ride to the station for free with no reward whatsoever shouldn’t possibly have succeeded. Put it into words and you can’t help but feel that this is implausible. Can you go about asking people for a free ride, even if your destination lies on the same road as theirs? Admittedly, that would work at times and some might argue that it has a greater chance of success except that is not the point.
What is the point then? It is that people are willing to help other people with absolutely nothing to gain from it but some sense of satisfaction that they alone can experience and in some cases (such as mine), under a mutual yet unspoken pact of anonymity. A thing of simple beauty.
Hitchhiking could then perhaps serve as a testament to the spirit of humanity itself. It speaks of trust in the heart of the person who stands on the side of a road believing, not knowing but believing, that someone will be willing to give them a ride simply because they are asking for one. And then there is the person who is willing to let a stranger ride along because he is in need of help.
Ah, if only this was how the world worked. Help given because it was asked.
Why do people do it though? Why are people willing to let a stranger tag along? What I found most incredible was my own experience. While merely forming a new bond is something to cherish and could drive some people, not even camaraderie was his reward as we didn’t speak at all. It was just one guy doing right by another because he felt so. You could find a plethora of reasons, basing it upon religion, culture and family values but I like to look at is intrinsic sympathy. It’s similar to the way we wince when we see people hurt themselves, even in videos. We feel for them because they are the same as us: human. And that’s why some of us wait and some of us stop.
I’m fully aware that I could be accused of reading too much into this act that has been around for forever (no, I’m not going to search the internet for the first successful hitchhike). And yes, you could also say that I’m being naïve in vain and that this is somebody desperately trying to find something in everything but I’m just being me.
So this is me being me, the musing libertine…


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