A couple of years ago I was on my motorcycle and doing well over the speed limit on a country road. I spotted an old class A on the other side of the road parked with the owners pouring over a map. I knew they were really lost and gps and most maps are close to useless in rural areas. I pulled a u_turn and got off the bike. The wife looked like she thought I was about to rob them and steal the coach. She was poking her husband and pointing out the wind shield. I unzipped the black leather and gave my biggest Gomer Pyle wave. The husband cracked the window about an inch. I said you look lost, Brook and Wood camp is about three miles that way, route 82 is behind you about 5 miles and route 9 and a gas station is straight ahead. The look of surprise was great.
I am all for stopping and at least assessing the situation and if appropriate helping out. Unfortunately the reality of today's world necessitates a reasonable amount of caution as things are not always what they appear and my first responsibility is to my family.
I stop to help whenever it is possible.
I don't agree that it is today's society putting everyone on guard. Bad things have always happened but with 24 hour news service it has become a driving force to make an incident become the focal point of the nation.
You wouldn't feel that way if you lived where we do. We are in the second highest crime area in our state and one of the highest in the nation. Move you might say? Would that I could but as long as my 94 year old MIL is still living that won't happen, the wife wont go. I do love my wife more than I hate living here. There are many great people in this town but sadly there are to many of the other kind as well.
We NEVER go downtown after dark and rarely venture beyond our immediate area at night. When going ANYWHERE in this town one needs to be always aware of their surroundings and if it doesn't feel right leave the area. Most of the crime here is "dirtbag on dirtbag" crime but lately there has been an alarming rate of instances of punks running up to anyone displaying gold jewelry (necklesses and such) and ripping it from their neck or rings off of fingers. This has been documented as happening to people from 5 to 85 years old. (this is the down side to high gold prices)
So, Stop and help someone in distress? Not in this town, sorry. Now, in a different place depending on the circumstances I would gladly help out a motorist in distress, just not here.
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We all know of the mythical Lone Ranger that 'Happens' upon people in need...
I've been a "Happenstance Ranger" all of my life.
For your reading pleasure; how I rescued a bicyclist while in Alaska:
I always wanted to tour Alaska and the Yukon on a Motorcycle. So I purchased a Honda XR650L Dual-Sport Motorcycle in Anchorage. I out-fitted the Bike with a 6 gallon tank and camping gear. The bike was a Dream to ride. I picked out 3000 miles of roads, staying on dirt and gravel as much as possible. One memorable section was the Denali Highway, which in Alaska means, it's a poorly maintain gravel and dirt road. The weather was bone chilling cold and wet for the two previous days, before I hit the Denali Hwy. At last the sun was out and I was itching to air out the Honda. The road still had many miles of wet and greasy stretches. Never having owned a street bike, but many dirt bikes, none of this bother me. I stood on the foot pegs, twisted the throttle to wide open and ran in the 70's and 80 's(mph) with the bike doing its see-saw like rhythmic dancing under me. I was still decked out in my white rain suit that was now mud brown. The weather was in the 40s F but none of this mattered. I was dressed for it. The wildlife was amazing, a large bull moose just off the side of the road, trumpeter swans in a pond. About a 100 miles into the ride, I had yet to see another person or car. So I slowed when approaching two bicyclist stopped on the road. A young woman frantically waved and shouted at me to stop. It was a a couple on their honeymoon. The husband was shivering cold, trying to repair a broken chain link. The wife confided in me, that he didn't know what to do, and asked if I would help.
This was one of those times, when you don't understand why things work out, the way they do. In my small tool pouch that I used for both Dirt Biking and Bicycling by switching a few tools, I purposely didn't remove my bicycle chain rivet tool, even though it would serve absolutely no purpose what so ever in a motorcycle tool kit.
The Husband was stopping every few miles to tie the chain together, with a shoe string. I quickly repaired the chain. As I prepared to remount the Honda and ride off the Wife shouted out, "Thank you Lone Ranger" and so with a twist of the throttle, I wheelied off with a raised arm and a loud "Hi Ho Silver" reply.
Recently I saw a pretty large 5er, stopped on side of road. An obviously older man "semi under" it trying to free the spare, which was in, one of those hard to get to "under racks" (another subject!)to replace the "only flat on the bottom" right rear tire of 5er. There was an older lady there, kinda watching, giving advice etc. They were off the road good and not in real danger of being hit etc. I did stop and when she got "wide eyed" and "backing up" saying "we've already called someone" Knew it was OK and went about convincing them I was only there to help. I changed their tire and we all went about our day. They were warm and grateful I was warm and fuzzy
Even here in the South, hospitality takes a back seat to caution. we all hear of the situations that went bad
If I know someone broke down ,... even if I don't really like them I will stop and help, I have had funny looks and been turned away?!?
Unless wife or Daughter or both are in truck, I will sometimes stop to help strangers. I'm pretty good at assessing situations fast and reacting, .... But I don't want that to be my epitaf! I remember back in the 60's in the truck / TT with my parents If you saw a real GOOD SAM sticker "It meant something?!?!? Now days I am leary of those in the CAMP GROUND with us. Its Sad, but there is no way of knowing just who or what your dealing with?!? More sad to have to teach your children / grandkids that there are restrictions and cautions to when and how to help others.
Compliments to you!.
Here's a "different take" on helping someone you *DO* know:
Just let me extend thanks and appreciation to all of you who are willing to help others. Yes, it's a dangerous world out there, and putting ourselves on the line in these situations is risky. But, as a wise person once observed, 'All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.' (Edmund Burke). Let's keep doing what is right and good!
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When I was younger I often stopped and helped people out who were stuck. Everything from siphoning a little gas for them, driving them somewhere, changing tires, and so on. I do it less now, but today everyone has cell phones, back in the day it might be a long way to any form of communication or help.
I still stop if it's a remote area and especially if it's a lone woman or an older couple. Or if I know it's a bad area to be stuck in. There's always a little risk associated with that, but I don't want to be paranoid and I anticipate how it might be a setup and am prepared for it.
Two instances come to mind. A coworker and I ran across a man from BC in a TC in a remote part of southern AZ. He had tried to turn around on a dirt road and backed partially up into a wash. Of course he sank his rear wheels up to the axles. We spent a couple of hours digging him out and afterwards another hour working on a bottle of Canadian whiskey in his TC. We left buzzed and it wasn't a very productive work day, but it was fun.
Another time I was trying to get to my friends' hunting camp in the mountains before dark. I ran across two women deer hunting in a jeep that had a flat tire. Both looked like they could take me two out of three falls but they couldn't break the lug nuts loose. I literally bent the lug wrench trying myself and finally gave up and drove them back to the small burg they lived in for help. I did find the camp later but it was a little tricky in the dark.
I occasionally picked up hitchhikes many years ago, as a rule I don't do that anymore, times have changed. But twice I've punctured two tires on bad road and someone stopped and helped me out. So I feel I am obligated to do the same for someone else.