Legal/moral question

I was driving through my neighborhood the other day and the snow was really coming down, and I saw a kid who was about 9 or 10 walking home from the bus stop or something.
Anyway, I wanted to offer this kid a ride home, mainly because he looked miserable.
But I didn’t, because I was afraid of what might happen.
I know that I probably couldn’t get arrested or anything for it, but I was just wondering what everyone else thought about this. I’ve told my kids to never, no matter the circumstances accept a ride from anyone.

Anyway, just curious.

I’ve done a lot of hitchhiking (none recently) in North America, Africa, and Europe. The only time anything bad happened (I was held up at gunpoint) was when I accepted a ride when I WASN’T hitchhiking. I would strongly discourage kids from accepting unsolicited rides from strangers.

If you offered the kid a ride and he accepted, you would be encouraging and rewarding his unwise behavior (unless of course you robbed him and beat him).

In these days of law suites I think you are insane for even thinking about giving that kid a ride. I for one appreciate your compasion towards a child, but let’s face a fact: The days of being nice to strangers, especially strange kids, are over.

You think you wouldn’t be arrested? Maybe, maybe not, but I bet after a histerical mother screamed to the police about a stranger picking up her kid, the cops would have a real looooooooooooooooooooooooooong, unpleasant talk with you.

Don’t do it.

I refuse to accept that. Now, in the OP the kid was described as just “look[ing] miserable”, but what if it had been more than that. What if he had been crying? What if he had slipped down and gotten his clothes soaking wet in this blizzard? What if he were injured? Are you just going to drive on for fear of a lawsuite? Not me.

I’m not suggesting this of you, pkbites, but I see a lot of people using the “fear of lawsuite” argument to justify their own laziness or self-centeredness.

I’m not criticizing one way or the other but isn’t it sad when people are so worried about the possibility of crime or lawsuits that they regard it (rightly or wrongly) as sensible not to be nice to other people.

My own theory is that the problem is one that tends to self-perpetuate, in that the more defensive people are about things like this, the more it becomes true that it would be dangerous to do them. For example, when I was a kid, we all walked to school. It would have been hard for some stranger to harm any given one of us, because there were so many other kids around walking to school to witness any problems. Now I’m told (I don’t have children) no one lets their kids walk to school because it’s too dangerous, and because of that, it IS too dangerous for anyone to go out on a limb and let their kids walk, because no one else does.

Another story (slight hijack but same principle). When I was travelling around as a younger man, I met this young woman one evening. We had not got to know each other in an intimate way (we’d only known each other for less than an hour), but for various logistical and financial reasons not worth going into, it would have been very logical and practical for us to share a hotel room for that night (and really quite awkward not to do so). The same idea occurred to both of us, but she wasn’t about to suggest it because although (she said later) I seemed like an honourable chap, who knows what sort of rapist/killer I could have been? And I didn’t want to suggest it because I knew it would be awkward for her to say no, given that doing so tended to imply that I was untrustworthy, but yet I thought it wouldn’t (from her point of view) really be sensible for her to say yes, even though I knew perfectly well that I wasn’t going to do anything horrible.

And now I’m married to her!