The Hitchhiker

It was the middle of Winter and I was just getting out of a training for my job. The drive home was 25 miles and I needed to get on the road quick so I could get back in time to pick up my sons from school. I pulled my coat on and headed out to my car. The temperatures were below freezing, the snow was steadily falling, and the wind felt like a punch in the face. I hurried into my car and pulled out. I had only been driving a few minutes, though, when I saw him. He was dressed in an old, thin coat. His long hair and grey beard looked frosted from the air. In one hand he held 3 grocery bags. The other hand was up, hitchhiking in the swirling snowstorm.

I donít usually pick up hitchhikers because with 3 grown kids and one small car there usually isnít room. This time, however, I pulled over fast and opened the door for the shivering man. He wasnít headed to the same town I was but I agreed to give him a ride halfway home. For the next 12 miles then we rode and talked. It was one of the most enjoyable and enlightening conversations Iíd had in a long time. We talked of education, money, my children, the kindness of strangers, and even touched on spirituality. My passenger was a retired school teacher living on a fixed income, but he didnít let having little money and no car keep him from experiencing life to the fullest. In fact, only one of his 3 bags had actual groceries. Another was full of books and the third carried a new plant for his home. He reminded me again that appearances can be deceiving and that the brightest souls often come in disguise.

I felt sorry for all the other drivers who passed by this fine man. They missed out on a great talk full of wisdom and joy. They missed out on meeting a shining soul still sharing his light. They chose fear and lost. May you always choose love instead. May you help your neighbor whenever you can. And may you treat everyone you meet as God in disguise.

~ Joseph J. Mazzella ~

[ by: Joseph J. Mazzella Copyright © 2009 ( -- submitted by: Joseph Mazzella ]

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