San Diego Highwayman -- the Good Samaritan 1998 years later

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The Good Samaritan 1,998 years later

A certain man went along down the road traveling from point-A-to-point-B. And as it happened he fell among some thieves who beat him terribly, then left him wounded and bleeding along the highway.

And by chance there came a charismatic Catholic and a reformed Jew walking along that way. And when they saw him, they passed by on the other side. Likewise, a bible-toting Baptist, a proud to be "full-Gospel" Pentecostal, a "word-walking" plain-old Protestant AND even a couple of New Age Unitarian Universal existentialists happened along while on their way to an inter-faith community leaders conference. As each one in turn came upon the man and saw him lying helplessly in the way, all passed by on the other side.

But a certain Samaritan as he journeyed came where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion on him. Being on foot and without means of provision to render aid, the Samaritan ran two miles to the nearest public telephone and hurriedly dialed 911.

Because funding for the police, paramedic and fire rescue services had all been drastically cut, being woefully under-staffed there was no unit available to send, especially not to such an out-of-the-way place. The emergency dispatcher immediately gave the sympathetic Samaritan a referral list of private ambulance companies to contact.

One-by-one the Samaritan called each of the ambulance companies, but all required a cash deposit prior to actual transport of the patient, -which they would be happy to charge to the "financially responsible party" on any valid American Express, MasterCharge or Visa Card. In lieu of a cash deposit, only a limited number of health insurance plans were accepted, providing they could obtain prior authorization from the health care provider for ambulance services (but no HMO's or PPO's accepted).

In vain the Samaritan tried to explain that the thieves had stripped the man naked and left him penniless without his wallet; there was no way to show proof of health care coverage even if he had any! The Samaritan was praised & verbally applauded for his valiant efforts to act as an advocate on the injured man's behalf, but since he was unable to secure the required deposit, he was politely refused service. The Samaritan was admonished not to worry hiimself any longer about the victimized man. Someone else has probably already come along, had undoubtedly seen the man's plight and provided assistance.

Not to be thwarted in his quest to get help for the badly injured and hopelessly stranded stranger, the Samaritan hastened off in the direction of the nearest town. With an air of expectancy he entered the first establishment he found which was a "ready-rental-car" agency. Although all he wanted to do was get the fallen traveler into town as quickly as possible, as soon as the rental car clerk learned why the Samaritan wanted to rent one of their cars, he immediately turned the Samaritan away citing the regulatory terms of the "liability coverage" on their entire fleet, which strictly prohibited the use of any of their vehicles to transport the handicapped or disabled. Their insurance contract also prohibited use of rental vehicles for commuter transport or car pools.

Even though the Samaritan patiently explained that none of these exclusions were applicable in this case, the apprehensive desk clerk insisted there was nothing he could do. According to company policy the matter required the approval of the office manager, who would not be available until the following Monday morning; but if he'd like to leave his name & number, he would ask the manager to get back to him as soon as possible.

Seeing that any further attempt to reason with the clerk would be futile, the Samaritan sighed deeply within himself as he left the rental agency and hurried down the street to the local drug store to buy some first-aid items with which he could temporarily treat the bleeding man's wounds. Once he finally reached the register, to his utter dismay the Samaritan was astonished to learn that without a major credit card or bank check guarantee card, (regardless of how urgent the circumstances were) without proper identifcation, the drugstore clerk (according to their store policy)steadfastly refused to accept his out-of-town check. The Samaritan could purchase neither precious oil nor expensive wine to pour on the poor man's wounds. In desperation the Samaritan traded his cloak with the merchant for a box of Bandaids and some antiseptic swabs.

Although it was with heaviness of heart that he began his return journey on foot, the irony of it all served to reinforce his determination to get back to the helpless man.

On his way through town the Samaritan spotted a congenial looking community church. Thank God, he thought as hope sprang up in his heart. Here he knew he would find "like-minded men" who would lend a helping hand. The Samaritan hurried up the steps and gingerly knocked on the office door. With the pastor's help in the church's maxi-van, he thought, we will most certainly be able to retrieve the injured man before dark!

In the pastor's comfortable study, the Samaritan listened silently as the pastor (while patting the Samaritan frequently on the shoulder) explained how he'd really like to help the poor fellow who was injured, but unfortunately it was entirely out of his hands. In a recent vote, the church council members had unanimously decided that the church's new maxi-van was to be exclusively reserved for "group functions" for church membership only.

The Pastor enthusiastically commended the Samaritan for wanting to do the right thing. He expressed his utmost admiration for the Samaritan's compassion and lavished a steady stream of compliments upon him concerning his Christian zeal, as he slowly but deliberately ushered the Samaritan step-by-step toward the door.

While insisting he was not insensitive to the injured man's plight, the pastor applauded the Samaritan's willingness to take up "that man's cause", -but he himself didn't think his ministry ought to get involved; who knows what kind of liabilities there might be...

Once again the Samaritan was turned away, as the pastor apologetically handed him a list of various other city, county and public health agencies that would be better suited to this particular need.

After searching from dusk until after dark, the Samaritan finally relocated the body of the mortally wounded man, laying in a ditch beside the highway. Chasing away stray dogs which had come to lick the bleeding wounds, the Samaritan stood quietly beside the now lifeless corpse. Prolonged exposure to the elements had been more than his beaten frame could bear. Bending slowly beside His bruised and broken body, the Sympathetic Samaritan reached His nail-scarred hand down and gently closed the dead man's eyes...while tenderly caressing the man's battered face, Jesus wept.




this story from reddit bout a year ago --

Just about every time I see someone I stop. I kind of got out of the habit in the last couple of years, moved to a big city and all that, my girlfriend wasn't too stoked on the practice. Then some shit happened to me that changed me and I am back to offering rides habitually. If you would indulge me, it is long story and has almost nothing to do with hitch hiking other than happening on a road.

This past year I have had 3 instances of car trouble. A blow out on a freeway, a bunch of blown fuses and an out of gas situation. All of them were while driving other people's cars which, for some reason, makes it worse on an emotional level. It makes it worse on a practical level as well, what with the fact that I carry things like a jack and extra fuses in my car, and know enough not to park, facing downhill, on a steep incline with less than a gallon of fuel.

Anyway, each of these times this shit happened I was DISGUSTED with how people would not bother to help me. I spent hours on the side of the freeway waiting, watching roadside assistance vehicles blow past me, for AAA to show. The 4 gas stations I asked for a gas can at told me that they couldn't loan them out "for my safety" but I could buy a really shitty 1-gallon one with no cap for $15. It was enough, each time, to make you say shit like "this country is going to hell in a handbasket."

But you know who came to my rescue all three times? Immigrants. Mexican immigrants. None of them spoke a lick of the language. But one of those dudes had a profound affect on me.

He was the guy that stopped to help me with a blow out with his whole family of 6 in tow. I was on the side of the road for close to 4 hours. Big jeep, blown rear tire, had a spare but no jack. I had signs in the windows of the car, big signs that said NEED A JACK and offered money. No dice. Right as I am about to give up and just hitch out there a van pulls over and dude bounds out. He sizes the situation up and calls for his youngest daughter who speaks english. He conveys through her that he has a jack but it is too small for the Jeep so we will need to brace it. He produces a saw from the van and cuts a log out of a downed tree on the side of the road. We rolled it over, put his jack on top, and bam, in business. I start taking the wheel off and, if you can believe it, I broke his tire iron. It was one of those collapsible ones and I wasn't careful and I snapped the head I needed clean off. Fuck.

No worries, he runs to the van, gives it to his wife and she is gone in a flash, down the road to buy a tire iron. She is back in 15 minutes, we finish the job with a little sweat and cussing (stupid log was starting to give), and I am a very happy man. We are both filthy and sweaty. The wife produces a large water jug for us to wash our hands in. I tried to put a 20 in the man's hand but he wouldn't take it so I instead gave it to his wife as quietly as I could. I thanked them up one side and down the other. I asked the little girl where they lived, thinking maybe I could send them a gift for being so awesome. She says they live in Mexico. They are here so mommy and daddy can pick peaches for the next few weeks. After that they are going to pick cherries then go back home. She asks if I have had lunch and when I told her no she gave me a tamale from their cooler, the best fucking tamale I have ever had.

So, to clarify, a family that is undoubtedly poorer than you, me, and just about everyone else on that stretch of road, working on a seasonal basis where time is money, took an hour or two out of their day to help some strange dude on the side of the road when people in tow trucks were just passing me by. Wow...

But we aren't done yet. I thank them again and walk back to my car and open the foil on the tamale cause I am starving at this point and what do I find inside? My fucking $20 bill! I whirl around and run up to the van and the guy rolls his window down. He sees the $20 in my hand and just shaking his head no like he won't take it. All I can think to say is "Por Favor, Por Favor, Por Favor" with my hands out. Dude just smiles, shakes his head and, with what looked like great concentration, tried his hardest to speak to me in English:

"Today you.... tomorrow me."

Rolled up his window, drove away, his daughter waving to me in the rear view. I sat in my car eating the best fucking tamale of all time and I just cried. Like a little girl. It has been a rough year and nothing has broke my way. This was so out of left field I just couldn't deal.

In the 5 months since I have changed a couple of tires, given a few rides to gas stations and, once, went 50 miles out of my way to get a girl to an airport. I won't accept money. Every time I tell them the same thing when we are through:

"Today you.... tomorrow me."

tl;dr: long rambling story about how the kindness of strangers, particularly folks from south of the border, forced me to be more helpful on the road and in life in general. I am sure it won't be as meaningful to anyone else but it was seriously the highlight of my 2010.

*edit: To the OP, sorry to jack your thread, this has nothing to do with Hitch Hiking. I sort of thought I could just get this off my chest, enjoy the catharsis and watch the story languish at the bottom of the page. Glad people like hearing the tale and I hope it moves you to be more helpful in your day to day. *

BE the DIFFERENCE you wish to SEE in the world!  gandhi

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