It was San Antonio in 1997 when I was picked up by 2 gentlemen in a beat up regular cab Chevy half ton. They were trying to make it to Atlantic city as they had never been there before.
In conversation, they shared with me that they were in the KKK — which shocked me as I was a quiet boy from Canada. As we talked it seemed that they were aware of the error of their prejudice which was passed on from their parents.
As we pulled up to a large store, one ran in while the other walked inside. While inside, I was let in on their plan: One went in and steals something. If he comes out with a receipt in his hand, all was good. If not, he said it meant trouble and if cops showed up he would ram them with the truck.
I was a little freaked out by this, but I thought if they were caught I would be able to play the part of naive hitch hiking Canadian. So anyway, I spent two days with these guys and it was one of the strangest rides I’ve had. Along the way they stole an electric chainsaw, a drill, and a 32″ TV which in those days was large. They would sell their wares to people they would run across and just say they were selling their things for gas money.
My one moment of courage was when they picked up another hitch hiker who was older with grey hair and a relatively frail build. He told them he would steal them a radio if we came across a broken down vehicle on the side of the road. Eventually we did, and he checked to see if there was a radio. While he was checking, I told them that I couldn’t let them steal from the car as that seemed more of a personal violation. I was terrified to pipe up like this, but their response was great! They stopped him and asked him to get out a short time later — saying he was coming between them.
On the second night, they told me they were going to get a hotel room and find some crack and said I could stay with them. I declined saying I wanted to keep moving.
The beauty of hitch hiking is that life turns into an unexpected adventure, never knowing where you will end up or who you will meet. I has taught me the most in life and showed me how amazing people are for the most part.