Stranger Cars

Settle down children, it’s time for a story.

I woke up yesterday and one of my first thoughts was, “Don’t get in a stranger’s car.” I don’t know why I thought that; I don’t know why half the thoughts in my head are there.

I brushed it off as one of those “teachable moments” for children. A child, I am not! 

Now, on weekends, I sometimes walk to a local plaza and get myself lunch. Doing so helps me stay in peak physical condition and provides me with blog content. That’s where my “walking home with a pizza box in the rain” blog post came from.

Also, it’s just really cool knowing I’m walking somewhere and there will be food waiting for me. The legs move just a little bit quicker. But not too quick or the sweat starts to build up.

I’m aiming for somewhere between a brisk pace and a mall walker. There, now you all know the exact walking speed I’m talking about.

Anyways, I started on my trek (this makes it sound like I’m climbing the Himalayas; good) and at the end of my street there was a little boy and his grandmother. They were about to cross the street, but before they did, she taught him to look both ways to make sure a car wasn’t coming.

I thought that was cool. You know, a nice, teachable moment.

I kept walking.

I got to a point where I could’ve turned onto a street and taken a shortcut. That was my intention. But when the time came, I didn’t take the shortcut. My feet didn’t turn. Steering wheel malfunction? I kept walking.

Not 7 seconds later, I noticed a car pulled over to the side of the road. I didn’t think anything of it, of course.

As I’m walking by it, the guy in the car honks at me and waves at me to come over to his passenger side window.

My initial thought was, “Oh my God, it’s happening.”

Then I thought, “I better not know this person from high school and have to pretend to care what they’re doing now. How will I casually end this reunion in less than 30 seconds?”

Don’t lie, you would be thinking the exact same thing!

I didn’t even think twice about approaching his car, my feet turned immediately.

I made a mental note of a few things as I walked up to the car. First off, the guy was smaller than me. I had the advantage, but I wouldn’t let that make me put my guard down.

Rey Mysterio won the World Heavyweight Championship in a triple threat match at WrestleMania 22. Small guys can win fights.

Sorry, wrestling reference.

Second, his weapon of choice appeared to be a post-it note. So unless he was going to slice and dice me and throw me into a vegetable soup, I wasn’t afraid of bleeding to death via paper cut.

I got to the car and he told me he needed directions because his GPS had lead him astray. He didn’t use the word “astray” but I thought I’d pump up his vocabulary on his behalf.

He mentioned a street name and Walmart. Suspicious, I thought. Of course he’s looking for Wal-Mart, who isn’t?

And then I read his weapon post-it note. There was an address to a sushi restaurant.

So where was he going? The sushi restaurant, or Walmart?

“Sir, we’re going to have to bring you in for questioning.” 

I listen to way too many crime podcasts, if you can’t tell.

Anyone who knows me knows that I don’t eat sushi. I stay away from the stuff. I was about to give up on this guy. And then I realized, hey, I know the street name he mentioned. I know where that is! I am smart!

I told him to turn around every now and then I get a little bit…NO.

Let’s try that again, without being interrupted by Bonnie Tyler.

I told him to turn around, turn left at the light, and drive straight, and he’ll see it eventually.

Top notch directions, eh! Five minutes after this encounter I realized that I should’ve told him the street with the Walmart was only about 5-10 minutes away. He probably drove off wondering how long “eventually” was. Poor guy.

So yeah, I wasn’t being kidnapped and I didn’t get in a stranger’s car. I was just helping a lost (and hungry?) soul find his way to Walmart and/or a sushi restaurant.

Teachable moment.

Moral of the story: I can’t leave my house without a stranger talking to me. I don’t say that as a joke, it’s the truth.

I’ve given directions to about 18% of the country. Okay, that was a joke. It’s more like 24%.

People just come up to me. I can’t explain it. Do I look approachable? Do I look harmless? Or do I look like the only guy walking down the sidewalk when someone is lost and needs directions?

I don’t know. I’ve had strangers seek me out in busy crowds, just to ask me something.

What is it about me that says, “I’m an info booth.” Is it because I carry a bell around with me on my shoulder?

That was a joke.

I’m not complaining. I don’t mind it. I just want to know what it is. And why did I wake up this morning thinking about strangers and their cars? And why did I witness another teachable moment – that lady teaching the boy to look both ways before crossing the street.


I texted my mom the abbreviated version of this story. She replied, “Good boy. You’re very helpful. So many people have come up to talk to me today, too.”

This is hereditary I tell you. My mom and I are magnets that attract strangers.

I can’t even walk down the street without being stopped. Can you? You probably can. Try it. Let me know what happens.

My fingers are crossed that I wake up tomorrow thinking of pizza because, surely, that will lead to a chance encounter with a pizza later in the day. That’s just how my life works.

The End.

Follow me on Twitter for more fun stuff @CappyTalks

About Paul

I think of my blog as an all-you-can-read buffet. There's something for everyone and complimentary mints at the door as you leave.
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27 Responses to Stranger Cars

  1. I get approached all the time in public, too. Over time I’ve come to put it down to my “customer service” face. The face that comes with working in customer service for close to 7 years, which has taken over my natural resting face. I guess now that so much (so many? Man, overthinking sucks) of the population have permanent resting bitch faces, when they see my “approachable/I’ll-show-you-which-aisle-that’s-in” face, they run over to me eagerly ready for my assistance. So maybe you and your mum (oh, I’m sorry, “mom”) just have nice faces.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Paul says:

      You might be on to something, I’ve also had jobs where I’ve had to look welcoming and friendly. Maybe we’re forever stuck that way. Weird thing is, I don’t think I’ve ever approached a stranger to ask them a question. I’ve never had the need.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Abhijith Padmakumar says:

    Great post. Loved it !!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. MagLyM says:

    So funny! Bonnie Tyler was a master song writer because that song pops in my head every time someone says turn around. I get approached all the time too, especially to take people’s pictures. I must look super safe because they are willing to hand me some pretty expensive phones and cameras. Great post!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Paul says:

      I’m also asked to take photos! Or at least I’m remembering this one time at a sporting event when I was asked to take a photo. I guess it’s better than people thinking we’re monsters and shouldn’t be bothered lol.
      And Bonnie Tyler hypnotized everyone who’s ever listened to that song.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Angela says:

    I get a lot of strangers asking random stuff too, not every time but quite a lot! I try to look unapproachable (earphones in, head down, no eye contact) because I am terrible at giving directions… I have to look at my hands to know left from right!
    I’m so glad you weren’t kidnapped, your observation skills are excellent though, have you though about becoming a secret agent?! … I will now spend the rest of the day humming total eclipse of the heart! Stay Safe!!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Paul says:

      Haha funny enough, I had earphones in, was looking down, and wearing a hate with sunglasses. The ultimate “leave me alone” attire. Still didn’t work.
      I think I’d be too awkward or obvious as a secret agent. People can always tell what I’m thinking by looking at my face lol.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I get so flustered when I’m on the spot like that. I once gave a guy completely wrong directions before because I was so taken off guard by a random stranger asking me a question. I still feel bad about that. LOL!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Paul says:

      Hahaha! When I finally got to a food place, I ordered and then stood there with my phone Googling to make sure I gave the right directions. I was paranoid I hadn’t. I would feel awful about it too. Man, strangers can put so much guilt on us.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Barb Knowles says:

    But I don’t remember getting the text. Oooooh you mean your real mom. It’s hereditary on your blog mom’s side too. For me, it’s any store I’m in. I can have my coat on and people will think I work there and ask me where something is. I usually say, well I don’t work here, but I think it’s over there in aisle 5. To which the response is almost always “Oh I’m sorry, I thought you worked here.” I think it is because we are sure of ourselves, outwardly at least, and people sense that and know that we KNOW. Like cats. I always think cats hold the secrets of the universe. Not to be catty.
    Ok, that’s enough. This is a great post, Paul.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Myka says:

    HAHA your stories always make me smirk, Paul. From beginning, to end. Here are my favorite parts:
    Ex 1. “Also, it’s just really cool knowing I’m walking somewhere and there will be food waiting for me. The legs move just a little bit quicker. But not too quick or the sweat starts to build up.”
    Ex 2. My mom and I are magnets that attract strangers.
    I’ve missed your voice inside my head. (that’s not creepy).

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I was just wondering, what if it were the other way around? Have you ever stopped someone to speak to them – ask directions, recognise an old friend, that sort of thing? If you did (or not), how do you think they might have seen you, the roles reversed?
    I’ve always wondered how I would look from somebody else’s eyes. Although, most of the people I know tell me I look ‘closed off,’ so, I’ve never had this, well, situation.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      Oddly enough, I’ve never done that. I would hope people think I’d look friendly and non threatening, but they could be intimidated by a tall guy coming up to them.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Talula Teabag says:

    Love your writing. Maybe you have a “friend in need” kinda look 🙂

    I just don’t look up and pretend I don’t hear people when I really wanna shut down. Mean, I know… But it works sometimes.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I’m jealous. NO
    ONE EVER DARES to approach me. It’s like I give off poison from my pores if you get too close for comfort lol and the few brave ones that DO approach me I feel bad for because I have ZEROOOO sense of direction like I barely know where I’m standing and I won’t cross a street alone because you know…. cars and stuff. LOL!

    Liked by 1 person

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