Strangers in the moment

Royal Crescent, Bath
I love it when a total stranger makes my day.

I was driving down to Bath, it was my birthday, it was way too hot in the car.  I had just stopped at a service station on the M6 and I was about to pull back out onto the motorway, when I saw him.  A hitchhiker.  Early forties, tall, tanned, floppy sun-bleached hair and less baggage than most people would take on a trip to the supermarket.  He looked like he belonged on an Aussie beach not hitching his way out of a dingy service station.

As a girl on my own, there is always the mental calculation of "Is this person a thief" to be gone through before picking up a hitchhiker.  All to be done at lightning speed before you have driven past the hitchhiker.  No-one has ever failed my calculation, and I have yet to pick up anyone who was either a rapist, murderer or a car thief.  Although sometimes I have taken so long to make the decision that I have then had to turn around to go back for the hitchhiker!

So I picked him up, his name was Ben.  He was an ex-pat who renovated property in France (hence the tan), he had also lived in Hong Kong and various other awesome places.  He was also in the process of looking for a van to buy to take back to France with him to convert into a camper.  I literally would have created an identical person if I was in the business of genetically engineering myself a random car journey companion.

Between the combination of our rather sketchy knowledge of English Geography, my sat nav and a few phonecalls to his sister, we worked out that my destination of Bath was only about 20 miles away from where he was trying to get to.  Pretty perfect for him really!  

So we drove and chatted for hours.  He was charming, funny, interesting, sweet and full of great stories and useful advice.  We swapped life stories, travel tips and van dreams.  I was genuinely sad to see him go when I dropped him off in the centre of Bath.  

I didnt get his number, his email address, or even his second name.  I will never see him again.  But that doesnt matter.  He was the perfect stranger.  He made my day.


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