As I’ve probably mentioned in previous articles, I’m from a really small town. How small? We my high school had a nine-man football team because we didn’t have enough people to have a full 11-man team, my town is less than a mile long when driving through on the highway, and the picture below was taken in March…of this year.
And yes, that’s a horse tied up out front.
And what’s it like growing up in a small town? Trusting. Everyone knows everyone else, so why would you ever have to worry? That guy walking down the street holding an ax…yeah he’s probably just a logger walking home from a hard day’s work. And I bet he’d love a ride home.
So as soon as I moved to the city (read: anywhere besides my hometown), my trusting nature became downright dangerous. I would’ve been a prime target for someone like Ted Bundy, who used to lure women to his car by pretending to be crippled and needing help with something simple, like loading groceries. I’ve not only given money to homeless people on the side of the road, but I’ve driven them through a fast food drive through and bought them dinner. I’m lucky I wizened up before anytime truly unfortunate happened, but just in case you’re of a similar mindset, here are three things you need to ask yourself before you get into a dangerous situation:
1.) Am I alone? No matter what the situation is, if you’re alone you’re at risk. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to give the stranger who “ran out of gas” a ride to the gas station 2 miles away, but the fact is if you’re all by yourself you need to say no. If you’re with five people, its broad daylight, and you all feel safe with the decision, that’s a different story.
2.) Do I know the person? As childish as it might be, the old rule of “stranger danger” still applies. If someone is asking for a ride or to come into your home to use your phone, say no. You can always call the cops to give them a ride or dial the number yourself.
3.) Is there another option? Yes, there is always another option. Someone knocks on your door asking for a jump because their car broke down? And you don’t know them? And you’re alone? Get a neighbor to help you or call the cops or a tow-truck for assistance. You can still help a person in need, but you don’t have to put yourself in danger in the process.
When in doubt think of this, a quote from The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo: “It’s funny how the fear of offending is stronger than the fear of pain.” Never let your fear of offending get in your way of making a good decision.
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