Dear Hitchhiker

Which Way to the UK?
Dear hitchhiker,

     I did see you there, standing on the side of the road with your black-lettered cardboard sign. It was labeled “Tofino” and you were clutching it with small hands covered in fingerless gloves.
     You couldn’t have been any older than twenty. You had a thick sheet of yellow-blond hair I’m almost certain came down to your waist. Your blunt fringe fell over your forehead, ending just above your thick black glasses that almost overwhelmed your small face, and you wore a black beanie that would have looked sloppy on anyone else.
     The clothes you were wearing made you look like you just walked out of a Free People Instagram photo. Effortlessly cool, exuding west-coast style. Perfectly balancing the line between shabby and chic: a cozy sweater, topped off with an army green vest and thick knit scarf, fitted dark jeans with a few artistic tears, and black lace-up boots that were either worn from use or for style (it’s hard to tell these days). Your canvas rucksack hung fashionably off your shoulders, possibly weighed down by all your earthly possessions, or maybe just enough to get you through a couple days.
     You stood there like you did this everyday, oblivious to the cars streaking past you, resolutely holding that cardboard sign. No agenda. Just waiting.
     And I drove by like everyone else.
     I wasn’t going where you needed to go, but a little part of me knew that I could take at least a little further down the highway. But I didn’t stop. I even drove past you again, surprised that you were still there.
     You were no longer holding your sign out to traffic. This time you were walking slowly in the general direction of your far-off destination, dragging your sign lightly along the median separating you from the cars speeding by. You were looking down, but you didn’t look sad - I would not have been surprised if you were humming merrily to yourself as you walked. You moved liked someone without a care in the world. A true adventurer, ready to embrace whatever the world had to offer at that exact moment.
     As I sped down the highway, I couldn’t help but wonder where you were coming from, how far you had traveled, and what waited for you at the end of your journey. You didn’t look like you were running from anything. On the contrary, you looked like you were running to something – something exciting, new, and different.
     But I guess I’ll never know for sure.
     Dear hitchhiker… I did see you there standing on the side of the road, and I’m sorry I kept driving. I would have loved to hear your story.

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