Many years ago, when things were much safer, there was a habit that a lot of people engaged in, that today, in our time, parents would cringe about and warn their children against…hitchhiking. Kids used to hitchhike to get to work, to a friends house, to town, or wherever they might be going. They didn’t have enough money to buy a car of their own, and it was a pretty much unheard of item to have, so I guess they assumed that anyone who had a car was a nice enough person, and they would hitch a ride from them. Usually they were right, and nothing bad happened, but later on, as this world got a little uglier, taking a ride from someone was something you did at your own risk, because you never knew what you were getting into.
Since my dad and his brother had a habit of jumping onto the slow moving train when they wanted a ride, even though they had a pass, and therefore had no need to jump onto the train, it would be my assumption that they probably hitchhiked too. Of course, they also had a real love for cars too, and therefore my guess would be that they were more likely to be the ones picking up the hitchhiker, not being the hitchhiker. Nevertheless, that isn’t really safe these days either.
I have been in a position where I had to take the help of a stranger, and I must say, I did not like it, but it was cold, the car had broken down, I had my girls with me, and it was still a long walk home. Thankfully the person I tool the ride from was a neighbor in the area we lived in, and we became friends with them after that. Nevertheless, at the time of the ride, it was a risky move to take that ride, and one I very much hated to take.
Over the years, Bob and I have picked up several people who were in a bad situation. They weren’t hitchhiking exactly, but like me, they knew that if they didn’t take the ride, they probably wouldn’t get home anyway. One was a couple whose car broke down, and the temperature that New Year’s Day at 3:00 in the morning was about 15° below zero, gratefully accepted our offer for a ride, and after driving the about 4 miles to their home, I have no doubt that they would have died that night, had we not helped them. Another was a couple who had slid off the road on snow and almost into the river, and no one had stopped in more that half and hour. We took them to town. Who knows how long they would have been there.
Hitchhiking in days gone by was not nearly as risky as it use to be, but any time you take a ride from someone you don’t know, or pick up someone you don’t know, in the old west, or today, you are putting your life at risk. So, while my dad may have done it, and probably knew the boy in this picture who was doing it, hitchhiking is not something I would recommend today.