I have a very vivid memory of a time when I was a kid that my Dad picked up some hitchhikers. I can't remember where we were, but I think it was cold out because I remember they were wearing unusual coats. There were two college age girls who looked like hippies. I remember them squeezing in to the back seat with me. They thanked us for picking them up, then one of them proceeded to take a kitten out of her coat. The kitten had a bell around it's neck, and they said it's name was Alfalfa. I remember feeling in awe that these two girls had their own cat. In my life experience, we only had animals that were jointly owned by the family. I don't remember how far they traveled with us, although it doesn't seem that it was very far. But I was surprised that my Dad would pick up hitchhikers.
My Dad told me about another time when he picked up someone on the road. I don't know if he could be considered a hitchhiker though because he wasn't really sticking out his thumb. But it was in the dead of winter, and a huge storm was raging. My Dad could barely see the road to drive. When he saw this man walking alongside the road, he felt that he had to offer him a ride so that he wouldn't freeze to death. I'm sure the man was very grateful to him because his car had broken down, or got stuck in a snow drift or something.
This has nothing to do with hitch hiking, but it does have to do with the point of this post, but my Great Grandmother used to always invite hobos in to her home to eat. At that time, it was during the depression, and there were many hobos traveling the country looking for work. Frankly, I don't know why they would go to that part of Southern Utah for work though since it is a 7000 foot elevation, and has harsh weather. But nonetheless, my Great Grandmother never turned one away that asked for food.
Below I have posted a song by Bob Dylan, "The Times, They are a Changin'". These really are different times. Elizabeth Smart's father invited homeless men to work for him so that they could earn money for food. But one of them abducted his daughter. Chances are very high that if you pick up a hitch hiker today, it will be someone who has a police record, and possibly drugs or a weapon on their person. To be a Good Samaritan these days can be a risk to your very life.
I long for a simpler time when there wasn't so much evil in the world. I wish it was safe to pick up hitch hikers. I wish it was safe to invite the homeless to your home for dinner. A scripture in our Doctrine and Covenants, in speaking of these last days says, " 27 And the love of men shall wax cold, and iniquity shall abound." Doctrine and Covenants 45:27 We can still serve our fellowman, and help the homeless, but we have to be careful. These definitely are trying times.