A female officer drove up in her cruiser, dropped me off at a Dollar Store and waited for me to purchase some groceries. Then, after I got back into her car, she drove me to a nearby rest area by an Interstate.
That particular rest area is very unique because it is positioned between the east and westbound lanes of traffic. It is also bordered by a secondary highway. So the officer and I both knew that I would have no difficulty hitching out in the morning.
I stayed there all night.
The next morning was Sunday...and "Mother's Day."
I walked my tired and grubby self down to the highway and sat down on a guard rail. People drove by in their vehicles and stared at me.
I stared back.
Finally, an older woman drove by me, stopped and then backed-up her minivan.
She was not a person of means. But her heart was in the right place.
She was dressed in a purple jacket/dress combination and was heading for church. After I told her what I was doing, she abandoned her plans and drove me from town-to-town, looking for a shelter for me.
We never found one.
At one point, we stopped in a parking lot beside a Methodist church. A woman walked up to us and asked what we were doing. We explained.
And as the words left our lips, the woman's nose pointed higher and higher in the air.
She was surrounded by big houses with manicured lawns and standing in the shadow of that enormous church building. And I could tell that all she wanted me to do was go away. Fast.
After she gave us a sickening dose of verbal Christian condescension, she got into her rig and drove away.
God love her...
The lady who gave up her "Mother's Day" and took me from churches that had no ears to shelters that had no room...finally ran out of options. And as her van rolled to a stop on the shoulder of a rural road...it ran out of gas.
We saw a fatal accident that day but never saw an answer to my situation. It was now late in the day and as she pulled out her cell phone, we were both very discouraged.
A friend of hers showed-up with a red container of gas and just shook his head when the lady told him what happened.
After the man poured fuel back in her van's tank, he waved at me and drove away. The woman was out of ideas and finally left me by a guard rail on a four-lane road that was heading north.
I sat down and put out my thumb again.
Five minutes later, a cop pulled over his car beside me and stopped.