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I´ve been asked by an old lady a few years ago after visiting a pharmacy if i give her a ride to a village maximum one mile away. In fact she didn´t asked me first to give her a ride. She asked first if i drive to the village anyway. It wasn´t my route but it wasn´t far so i drive her.
Karebear, tell yourselfves always: It is not your duty to do complete stranger all kind of big favors and if there bitching it is not your fault it is their lack of manners.

Andy Dufresne

Just a few nights ago, as a matter of fact. It was 2:30 in the AM. I had just gotten off after working 12 hours (not in retail) and stopped by a gas station a stones throw from where I live. This 40 year old leathery purse of a lady comes up to me and says she needs a ride to HellMart to pick up some drugs for her daughter who was just admitted to the ICU. I flat out refused. Luckily, she didn't go berserk but immediately went chasing after another car entering the parking lot. Looking back her story is pretty fishy. First of all, the pharmacy at HellMart closes at 9, don't they? And also, if her daughter is in fact in the ICU, doesn't the hospital have a pretty good pharmacy to cover any medication needs? And why the hell wasn't she sitting by her daughters side? I don't think there would be any situation where I'd agree to give someone a ride.


A few years ago, when I worked at the party store, we had hired our usual slew of temps to help cover for Halloween. I think it was the first or second night after hiring everyone, and one of the gals waited until we closed the store before she started asking everyone to give her a ride to the east side of town. Now, keep in mind that the store's on the west side of town and this particular person honestly looked like she was either on drugs or had been on them and was trying to quit, plus I honestly had to tell her that I didn't live anywhere near the east side. One of my coworkers ended up giving her a ride but the next day she told me that the temp gal told her a completely different location once they were halfway to the east side.


Yeah, I had that happen once. I got off work around 9 p.m or so and was approached by a young woman and her boyfriend asking for a ride. I told them my husband was expecting me home and I couldn't keep him waiting then walked away. I figured that would prompt less argument than "I don't give rides to strangers."

I'll let you use my phone, I might even give you some money for a taxi if I'm in a really giving mood - but there is no way in hell I'm letting a complete stranger get in my car (especially when I'm alone).


A handful of times, but usually at truck stops in the middle of nowhere, and the request is most often $next_town.

I've carried some. Some just wanted to go the wrong way, and some just looked sketchy enough that I told them I was going the wrong way.

I've even picked up hitchhikers a few times.

It probably helps that I am a reasonably large and scary-looking male. I'm not very worried about casual violence, and I certainly don't look wealthy enough to be worth ripping off.

But giving free lifts anywhere there's a decent public transit system (or even a lousy transit system) or reasonable likelihood of a taxicab? Not jolly likely.



I've had one event like that years back, stopped by a gas station right after work, around 12:30 in the morning. Lady asked for a ride if possible, wasn't far, something like a mile or two. I forget the reason she needed to get there urgently. I first told her I wasn't heading that direction, and was meeting family for a late dinner. She kept going on her way, and after I filled up, I headed in her direction and found her a few blocks away (she was booking it) I went ahead and offered her the ride, saying my family could wait. I think the fact that she wasn't hanging around, looking like she was trying to pick someone up made the decision in my mind. She was walking pretty quickly, so she definitely needed to get there quickly.

The Worst

Once, but luckily when I said no they didn't get upset, and there were lots of people around and they just wandered off to ask someone else.

As an aside, my friend's little brother once had a stranger ("a middle-aged hobo guy", in his description) ask to use his phone. He handed him his brand new iPhone, and the guy asked for some privacy, and being the sweetie he is her brother stepped off and looked away, and when he looked back the guy had taken off with his phone. Moral of the story, if you are going to loan out your phone, keep an eye on the caller!


I wouldn't mind helping out old ladies or men. I'm sure I could outrun them if needed. But in some of these towns, there's gangs or kids who think they are tough. You hear stories about things gangs do for new recruits and such, always getting county/sheriff notices about new things. Puts you on edge when a complete stranger asks to get in your car with you to go X miles away...alone...

Perhaps I am just over paranoid at times, but I rather be paranoid and alive, rather than care-free and dead.

The Singing Library Clerk

I haven't but my parents have - however, only when all three of us are together and only when that person's car is broken down or they're otherwise stranded.

The former I suppose is because we look safer as a family than if we're alone.

Veteran Bartender

I've been asked multiple times coming out of work - which is at 3am, earliest, and the people asking are usually drunk, so I always decline. I think my favorite was when a guy who had to have been 21, tops yelled across the street, "Excuse me, hooker looking lady, can you take me to [local college 20 minutes away]?" Um, no sir, and starting that phrase with "hooker looking lady" probably didn't help, either.


"It'll be your fault I miss my plane!" Sorry Chuckles, a lack of planning on your part is not an emergency on my part. The sign out front says Hellmart, not Grayhound.

Being 6'3 and looking like I have a steady diet of toddlers and the souls of the unwary, I've never had anyone ask me for a ride. I have offered a couple, to a little old lady walking in the rain... when she turned me down, I gave her my umbrella... and a guy on the side of the interstate at 4am, three miles from the nearest exit in either direction (LONG before the ubiquity of cellphones)...

Friend told a story about his brother once... picked up a hitchhiker on a whim, and the guy started asking a lot of questions, out of state tags, 'you're a long way from home', isn't it dangerous to pick up hitchhikers. The brother pulls his gun out from under the seat and holds it up, and says "Nah, I'm not worried about it. Normally I pick up hitchhikers to fuck with them, but you got lucky, I'm in a good mood today." The guy says "You can let me off here..."


I don't know why, but I seem to have that 'nice guy' forehead or something as well. I've been asked by random people for rides across town, to the next town over, just random things I nor anyone I know would pull unless something abysmal happened and it was our only choice.


I've never been asked for this, but then again I know I give off a bit of a "creeper" vibe that makes me less approachable.

I know if I was asked, I'd tell them they needed to fill my gas tank first. That would filter a good chunk of 'em out.

The Last Archimedean

My rule is simple. No one in my car but me, my family, or my friends.


OP, are you bothered that you did not give these people rides? Do you feel some type of guilt for not caving into these bums? The reason I ask is because you offer multiple excuse (such as your car being dirty, stuff in the backseat, etc.)for not letting them hitch a ride. Honestly, it is YOUR car, YOUR decisions and YOUR life. If you don't want to give someone a ride, that's fine, but the excuses you offer are basically irrelevant.


I've never been asked for a ride, but I tend to walk most places (I find walking very relaxing. I've had the opposite happen were random people I don't know have offered me rides. I'm sorry I don't know you so what makes you think I want to get into a car with a stranger, I don't want to be on the news with the words last known location, but thank you very much.
People that would ask a stranger for a ride are either shifty or very trusting that you're not a serial killer. No Thanks.

grocery store slave

that's what happened to me 2 years ago when i had my first car i was at a library in another town and just as i got in my car and was ready to leave a woman on a bike approached me and asked me for a ride to some convention in another town and she said she knew she shouldn't ask strangers for rides but i told her no and she left not before going on about it and i asked her if she considered calling a cab she said she did but the cab driver took off on her so i still said no and she went on her way

Bored at the Bookstore

I think if some total stranger asked for a ride, the first words out of my mouth would be, "In this day and age? Do you think I'm crazy?"

I don't pick up hitchhikers. Ever. Friends, neighbors? You betcha - like the time our friend Jack was caught three miles from home in the pouring rain with a flat-tired bike and I just happened to pass by.

Neighbor kids who got sick at school? Been there, was the "emergency mom" for half the street when the kids were little.

But strangers? No freakin' way. Brrrr. No need to make excuses, Karebear - a simple, "No" will suffice. Although your story about your "brother's" homecoming-from-jail story gave me the chuckles - thanks!


I've done that, three exchange students from China. All of them women, which was probably why they approached me to ask about the bus when I got off work. Of course, the bus here stops around 7, several hours before I got off work. I gave them a ride because I wouldn't have wanted to be stranded in a barely known town with such a small group.


The phrase I use is "I don't have enough gas to get you there and make it back home. Have you got enough money on you for half a tank, or should I just call you a cab?" If they try to press further for a free ride, I just put on a rueful smile and "Any other time, maybe, but I'm on a tight budget and these gas prices are murder. Times are rough all over; if you've really got no money and need a ride, sometimes the police will take a citizen home in an emergency."

If necessary, most jurisdictions have panhandling and vagrancy laws such that if YOU, in all well-meaning sincerity, call the non-emergency cop number and say "There's a lady here at the Hellmart asking people for a ride home, would it be possible for an officer to come give her a lift? I'd feel terrible if something happened to her while hitchhiking with strangers," and then the cops will come and either give a ride and a warning or arrest them, depending on the situation -which is to say, whether the hitchhiker is polite and in a genuine fix, or whether they're a shrieking, entitled asshole.

Either way, that'll stop that nonsense.

NC Tony

Once a long time ago (close to fifteen years maybe), I was walking through a parking garage because it was the easiest way to get to where I was going and some random woman stopped me and asked me if I could give her a ride to somewhere way over on the other side of the city (a good two hour drive under ideal traffic conditions). However at the time I didn't have a car, and told her so. Then she demanded to know why I was in the parking garage if I didn't have a car. I just pointed to the park across the street and said "Because I'm going over there and this was the shortest route." I walked away before she could say anything else. My friends that I was meeting up with got a good laugh out of the story though.

There was another incident, not so long ago, where I was leaving work (around 2-3 in the morning), and needed to make a detour to get some gas. The station I use that early in the morning usually has one or two police cars in the parking lot, which is WHY I use it. Anyway, guy comes up to me (passenger side) while I'm waiting for the light to change, makes the universal symbol for rolling down the window (even though most cars have power windows now), so I crack the window, maybe and inch or two and and immediately assaulted by the smell of marijuana. This guy reeked of it! He asked if I could give him a ride. I flat out said no, and closed the window. He got mad and tried to open the door (the doors on my car automatically lock as soon as the car is put in gear so the doors were already locked), then pounds on the window. The light changed and I took off (although under the circumstances, and the fact that there was no other traffic, I would have taken off even if the light was still red), pulling into the gas station where there was in fact a police car. However, the pot head saw where I was, saw the cop car and wandered off down the street in the opposite direction. I went inside, found a cop and told him what happened. I don't know what happened after that, but they did go out to look for the guy.


I have never been asked, but the answer is NO. I don't give rides to strangers, for my own safety. You aren't even gonna get a ride by carjacking me; that's why I'm a CCW holder.


a girl who worked in my store once asked some customers if they'd give her a ride home... (she apparently knew them) but if someone I didn't know asked me, I'd say no. especially now that we for sure have creepers creeping about. (some guys tried to pick up some middle schoolers two days ago) But I will give coworkers rides home after closing, because the buses in the area that I work stop running at 10. but you can sometimes get a sympathetic bus driver that will let you get on for free. also, you cant panhandle in front of the store, so I'd assume asking for rides is the same. all you have to do is tell an employee and they can get managers to kick the person off the property.


The few times I was willing to pick up people that apparently had car trouble, I was only willing to do it because I had one (or more) of my large (usually black) dogs with me. "Is that dog going to bite me?" "Are you going to do anything stupid? Then we aren't going to have a problem, are we?" Never had a problem.

Queer Geek

First of all Karebear, the word is NO! You're a woman alone and I don't care if it's a sweet old lady or some random stranger, you never give someone you don't know a ride. Point them toward a bus stop or a taxi service. At no point should you give a stranger a ride. Screw the good Samaritan rule, your safety comes first.

I'm a person who doesn't drive and I find my way round the city via public transportation. Unless a relative, family member, or friend offers, I accept the invitation. However, I NEVER go up to a random stranger and ask them to bum a ride. That's just insane!

Less Than Zero

I always wonder what the deal is with people asking -- how do they know that YOU aren't dangerous? For all the people asking know, I'M a serial killer.

Trucker Bitch

I've had it happen meer seconds after parking at a truck stop for the night while in my rig. or at least something similar. guy comes up and offers me $50 to go with him to get his truck out of repo. I was a little confused about what he wanted at the time, but had told him that I couldn't help him.

After he left, I really thought about it and went WTF?!? for a number of reasons. It was after 5pm local time and what repo lot office is open that late? Also I was a single female trucker, in a truck with Canadian plates (obviously not from the area). Why on earth would you ask a woman to trust you enough to go alone with you to a strange place in a strange city in a strange state in a country not her own for $50!?! I do think he didn't realize I was female until he came up to the truck, but still!


Not only is the word "no", but it should be accompanied with a surprised/horrified look like you can't believe the person actually had the nerve to ask you.

I am very uncomfortable with how much you said to analyze why you couldn't take that person. Who in the world taught you that you have to give everyone what they ask for? These people asking you for rides are acting totally inappropriately.

So whether they will fit in your car, or whether you are going the correct direction, or whether you have your kids with you, or if you just don't feel like it, it doesn't matter. The answer's no, no justification needed. All that happens when you try to justify yourself is that you give them an opening to argue with you, which you do not need.

You are an incredibly nice person, but you deserve to have your own boundaries and to have them respected.

When people don't hear me when I say "no", I keep saying it louder and more vehemently until I am making enough of a scene that they leave me alone. I have never had a bystander come up later and tell me I was wrong.


The closest I've come to this was once in high school when I kid who I didn't know, but went to the same school as me asked to ride with me because I had a car and he'd missed the bus.
Unless you count hitchhikers who were technically asking everyone to drove past for a ride ;-)

Also, why are you telling us how far their destinations were and the reasons you couldn't fit them in your car?
There's no need to justify it, why would you give them a ride unless it was a emergency? sSuch as they were caught in a flashflood or blizzard and not picking them up might result in death.
It doesn't matter if where they wanted a ride to were next door to where you were going, you drove a six seater van, and had no kids.
You're not obligated to give rides to strangers. It isn't your responsibility, and, more importantly, it isn't safe.


Sorry, I have to add this after reading again. Today this happened when you were a custy, not when working?
Unless you were in your work uniform there's no need to make up some story.
Saying, "I'm sorry, but no I can't" is perfectly polite given the situation, and if they won't accept 'no' for an answer forget politeness, because they clearly don't deserve that consideration, and tell them to fuck off!


For Karebear:

You wrote:
"You hear stories about things gangs do for new recruits and such, always getting county/sheriff notices about new things."

Pretty much all of those 'notices' are complete and utter bunkum. If you get such a notice about something in your area, call the non-emergency number for your local law enforcement agency, and they'll tell you it's nonsense.



I've picked up hitchhikers plenty of times it's a lot of fun usually. I've never had someone bother me for a ride at random outside of a store though. Their insistence might be related to how you say 'no'. When I say no to a request I say it in a way that assumes that there will be no further discussion about the request.


I wouldn't ever give a ride to someone I didn't know. I won't even stop for people broken down on the side of the road. You know that sounds bad, but I honestly don't think I could be of any help to them at all. It's not like I know how to fix cars or change tires or anything.

But then, I'm not a big scary looking male. I am a very unscarey looking single female.


For me it's people wanting to sit with me in restaurants. Honestly, if there is another free table, go sit there. If I'm out with my kindle and a sandwich, the last thing I want is some random stranger trying to talk to me. If it's busy and there are no seats, I look the person in the eye and say, "Are you quiet?" If they say yes, well have a damn seat. If they are going to try something, they usually give me a dirty look and saunter off.


Okay, I've never had this happen to me or anyone I know, but I did know a couple of kids in high school who did this.

They would just ask people to give them rides to random places (usually fast food areas or the mall) and honestly, I could never find out why they felt justified to do that. I don't think they ever offered compensation for it either, except for an offer of hanging out.

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