Children? I thought. Hitchhiking?
But there they were, three boys, maybe on the cusp of double-digits by the looks of them, standing in a clump by the freeway entrance with thumbs out.
I shook my head as I passed by them. I've got a track record of providing hitches, but this one wasn't to be. I was already late for my Ultimate Frisbee league game.* I couldn't in good conscience pick them up only to strand them somewhere besides their destination and make them hitch again, and I had no idea how far out of my way that would be. And, of course, there was the thought in the back of my mind that no, there's nothing at all creepy about a solitary middle-aged man** picking boys up from the side of the road; all it would take would be one panicked 911 call from a paranoid passerby to get me in legal trouble I simply didn't want to chance.
Still, it's hard passing by someone who needs help. My mind kept flashing back to the looks of disappointment on their faces. Especially that one wearing the helmet, leaning on his razor scooter*** ...
Three kids, of the right age, with no parental supervision, throwing themselves into the unknown ...
SWEET MERCIFUL CELESTIA, I JUST SAW THE CUTIE MARK CRUSADERS HITCHHIKING.
(R63 humanized versions, but still. What.)
* * *
UPDATE, 7/19: @jessetruscott mentions that he was showing a My Little Pony design to a non-fan coworker, who looked at the Cutie Mark on the pony's hip and commented on the "tramp stamp".
... suddenly everything makes perfect sense.
* Our team won 15-13 in a grumpy and exhausted slug match. I realized only afterward why everyone was so fatigued and irritable despite a cooler evening than we've been used to recently: smoke.
** ... I'm turning 35 this Friday.
*** This post is 100%, unembellished, true.