Sometimes, my cold, cold heart goes out to one of my students. Not often. But it happens.
This afternoon, while on parking lot duty, I witnessed one young lad trying to hitch a ride. Perhaps it was to the baseball field, which does not adjoin the grounds of Newmentia. No buses travel from Newmentia to the field. When you're a freshman, and not driving, and your parents work, and your usual ride has other plans after school...you are at the mercy of your peers. Some are merciless.
Time is of the essence in a matter such as this. You have to catch a ride before the parking lot empties itself of drivers. The only factor in your favor on this sunny fall Friday is that cars have to line up and wait to pull out onto the county road.
I watched the Young Lad run from car to car, like Tom Chaney running from horse to horse in True Grit, begging one Parmalee brother after another to ride him double, so he wouldn't be left behind at the camp with Mattie Ross and the pit of rattlesnakes. Young Lad had hustled out to the parking lot on time. He thought he had a ride. One after another plan fell through. This car took a different kid who just walked up. They yelled that they didn't have room now. That car played messin' with Sasquatch with him, and peeled away, hooting.
Dejectedly, Young Lad began the trek back to the building. I had decided that if I saw him inside after my duty, I would offer to run him over to the field. I know his family. I had The Pony as a chaperone. But Young Lad got lucky. A pair of brothers proffered a lift in the back of their pickup. Never mind that it's against the law. It's the thought that counts.
Young Lad hopped into the bed. He looked around for a moment, then laid down so he couldn't be seen. It could be that he wanted to be safe, what with the recklessness of teen drivers. It could be that he was embarrassed that he had been rejected by so many other drivers. It could be that he didn't want the police to catch him riding in the back of the truck. It could be that the driver specified that Young Lad could ride, if he laid down so nobody would see him. We'll never know the reason.
I tip my nonexistent hat to those brothers who did the deed.