Living in Sabah, it’s very rare to see hitchhikers on the road. At least those ones that are portrayed in movies (you know, those people carrying a huge backpack over their shoulders, putting their thumbs up in the air when a car comes close hoping to get a free ride). I don’t know about others but for me, it’s not a common thing to see here.
So when I do see one, I get really excited. Don’t judge. I get really, really excited as if I’m meeting a celebrity.
Last Saturday, I saw a guy on the road. I thought he was some homeless man because he was pulling some stuff by a cart thing on the side of a busy road. I looked at this man, my friend who was driving was also expressing her confusion, and I saw the sign he was holding. It was a cardboard sign with the word ‘AIRPORT’ written on it with a black marker. In that split second, I looked at his face and he was beaming with his smile. He was practically skipping to a car that had stopped for him.
I don’t know why but it made me so happy.
I went home and told a friend of mine about the little encounter I just had. And she reminded me of another hitchhiker (or probably just a guy on the side of the road, but he was a white guy in an Asian country, though) I met about two years ago.
I was on my way to my kampung when we drove past this man. I vaguely remember him looking like Chick from Bates Motel (a little more clean cut and a shorter beard). He wore a bunch of colourful clothes, I figured it must be the traditional clothes he’d acquired on his ongoing adventure. As we drove past him, his eyes met mine and I must’ve looked like a kid getting her birthday cake because he smiled at me, with his tired eyes.
And just like that, he made my day. For a whole week, I developed a crush on this unknown man I saw on the side of the road. That weird moment made me long for a life that I’ve never had.
I wish I had the chance to talk to these men and listen to their stories. Oh well. Wherever they are, I hope they’re safe and still having fun with their adventures.