Hitchhiking is all good if you meet normal folks who just want your help – or if you want to help anyone. Unfortunately for everyone, the same can’t be said. In these hitchhiking stories, some may have survived, but barely. After reading the stories you will think twice before picking up a stranger.
Cousin vanished while hitchhiking
From Redditor u/gruselig: My aunt’s eldest son hitchhiked a lot through New Brunswick back in the 70s. He vanished one summer, and the best the police could come up with was that he was picked up by someone, murdered, and his body was dumped in the St. John river. They never found his body, and my aunt never got closure. My mother told me that when I was young to discourage me from hitchhiking, and hell, it worked.
Never, Ever, Pick Up a Hitchhiker
From Redditor u/thebestjeans: So this was told to me by an old family friend, Nicki, numerous times as a kid growing up, as one of those “life advice stories” to keep in mind through the years. And to her credit, I have never forgotten it. Whenever anything associated with hitchhiking comes up it always springs to mind and probably always will. Makes me a bit ill whenever I think about it actually.
So Nicki, who grew up at the same time as my dad so this was about early 80’s I believe, was a young woman in her mid 20’s. She’s one of those real kindhearted souls, always willing to help another out in a time of need, you know? And I can’t imagine her being anything other than that when she was younger so I totally see her doing this too.
So, driving into the city (about a two hour or so drive out from town) She saw a man walking down the side of the road. As she neared he turned and, in typical hitchhiker manner, stuck out the ol’ arm and thumb. Nicki, bless her heart, pulled over and asked him if he needed any help.
She told me that he was really polite, if not a bit shy, when he asked for a lift into the city. Nicki gave a smile and popped open the passenger door for the guy, who tossed his bag into the back seat and buckled up for the ride ahead.
They talked pleasantly for most of the trip. About friends, the news, etc. you know, happy small talk. She felt that they were getting on really well and even bought him dinner at the pit stop a little over halfway there. She says he seemed really flustered and awkward when she paid, but one of the things they had talked about was money and how he was pretty dang strapped for cash. Which was why he was hitchhiking in the first place. But he eventually relented and they went on their way.
As soon as they got into the city he thanked her profusely for the ride and the food and asked to be dropped off once they hit downtown. Before getting out he asked for Nicki’s phone number so he could contact her someday and catch up. Thrilled at the prospect of knowing how her new friend was faring, Nicki wrote it down for him and drove off with the warm feeling of a good deed done.
Now I’m sorry if you were expecting something creepy to have happened by now, but I think this is what freaked me out so much as a kid; how nice everything seemed to have worked out. Nicki gets this crease in her forehead and a funny look in her eye when she tells me the next part. How a week later she got a phone call from her “driving buddy.” He didn’t let her get a word in edgewise after ‘hello’ and told her- ‘that she should thank god that she was raised so nice because when he first got in her car he was planning on raping and murdering her once they got to that pit stop. That he was going to steal that car and dump her body in a ditch further down the road and go on his merry way. But after she talked with him so kindly, and treated him to dinner with a smile on her face- He couldn’t bring himself to do it. He didn’t think that he could live with himself after doing that to such a nice lady. And to please, please, Nicki please: Never. Ever. Pick up another hitchhiker.’
Then he hung up the phone.
Nicki never got a call from him again, when she tried re-dialing the number she got a payphone.
And so, Mr. Hitchhiker, I know I’m never going to meet you. Because I’m going to listen to the advice you gave your driving buddy and never. Ever. Pick up a hitchhiker.
The Nice couple had a corpse in their car
From a former Redditor: A man was hitchhiking across the county and got a ride from a couple. A while after he got home, he saw them on the news. They had killed a man earlier and were driving with his corpse in their car. They had killed and robbed a few people before then. He was surprised because they were so nice.
The Woman in the Box
From Redditor /u/muttermag: “A woman accepted a ride from a couple with a baby. They kidnapped her and held her for 7 years. I heard her story when I was a kid, and its the reason I would never hitchhike.”
In 1977, Colleen Stan was hitchhiking from her home in Eugene, Oregon, to a friend’s home in northern California, where she was heading to a birthday party. Cameron Hooker (born November 5, 1953) kidnapped 20-year-old Stan after picking her up. Stan stated that she was an experienced hitchhiker and had allowed two rides to go past before accepting the ride with Hooker. She reportedly “felt confident climbing into the blue van”, because Hooker’s wife, Janice, and their baby were in the car. When they stopped at a gas station along the way, Stan went to use the restroom. “A voice told me to run and jump out a window and never look back,” she recalled, but she calmed her fears and went back to the car. According to Stan and Janice Hooker’s testimonies, once they were alone in an isolated area, Hooker pulled off the highway and put a knife to Stan’s throat. She was subsequently locked in a wooden “headbox” which was designed to prevent light, sound, and fresh air from entering.
He was shot in the back of his head
From a former Redditor: “There’s this middle-aged man who lives in the town I’m from. He was a genuinely sweet and caring person. And mind, this is a really small town. One day, he picked up a hitchhiker just outside of town. He told him to jump in the bed of the truck, and he’ll drive him to Walmart. About halfway there, the hitchhiker shot him in the back of the head for no reason.
He didn’t even steal anything. And if I remember correctly, he got caught. Henry didn’t die, but he’s permanently disabled and has severe brain damage. I remember when I first heard that, and it scared the shit out of me. This was probably about 12 years ago now, but I still think about anytime someone talks about hitchhikers. It scares me to think someone would do something like that, just because.”
Hitchhiker was John Wayne Gacy
From Redditor /u/jasonissohandsome: “Not my story, but my history teacher’s hitchhiker’s story.
As a teenager, my teacher lived in Cook County, Illinois, and frequently would walk around town/the city as most people do. One day he was offered a ride by a large-ish man in a car and hitchhiked home. The driver had a clown suit and makeup kit in the back of his car because he said he worked as a part clown part-time, which should have sent bells ringing but he thought nothing of it. So he got driven to his mom’s house and thanked the driver and left. My history teacher said the driver was one of the most polite people he has ever met.
A few years later my teacher found out that the man he got into a car with was John Wayne Gacy, Jr.”
The ride got pretty uncomfortable as we went along
From Redditor /u/Jeola: The story took place two years ago. I was on my second-week backpacking through Austria and I reached a point where I was too exhausted to walk any longer. It was an unusually hot day, I had blisters all over my feet and I was ready to call it quits.
I was in the middle of nowhere and decided to thumb a lift to the nearest train station. But I was out of luck. I stood there for what felt like hours and no car would pick me up. (I don’t blame them. I spent two weeks sleeping in the woods, my clothes were dirty and I probably looked like a maniac.)
When finally a truck pulled up it didn’t hesitate to hop inside because I was so thankful to be able to sit down and rest my feet for a while. I asked the driver if he could drop me at the nearest station so that I could catch a train to Vienna, but he told me that he was heading back there anyway and that he could take me there as long as I didn’t mind him making a stopover to load the truck. I didn’t and so we drove along. We made some Smalltalk and he seemed to be very polite.
It was a pretty enjoyable ride until we reached the first stop. He loaded his truck while I walked around a bit and bought some water at a gas station nearby. He had offered me drinks a few times along the ride but I always declined because I don’t feel comfortable with that. I got back into the truck and we continued the drive to Vienna. Almost immediately after we took off again he told me that it wouldn’t be a problem for him if I wanted to take off some clothes since it was such a hot day.
I told him that I was fine but he brought it up a couple more times. He also asked me if I wanted to take a nap in the back and that he had several hitchhikers sleeping there in the past. I declined again and started to feel a little uneasy around him and planned to leave the truck at the next gas stop. All of a sudden he nearly yelled at me to put my head down and hide because he was driving past his stepfather’s car and he didn’t want him to see me in the truck. That struck me as odd, but I did anyway because his yelling took me by surprise. That confirmed my resolution to get out of there as soon as possible and I asked him to drop me off at the next stop and made up an excuse that it was my goal to enter Vienna by feet and that I well-rested enough to make it, thanks to his lift.
He agreed and I got my stuff ready. He suddenly turned to me and said that I looked familiar and that he was sure he saw me somewhere before. I shrugged it off but he insisted he remembered my face. He asked me if I ever went to a swinger club because he was sure he saw me there some time. That caught me off guard and I told him that this was impossible because I’d never been to one. “Well, do you want to? I’m going to one in Vienna.
Let’s go there together, I’m sure you’ll like it.” At this point, I really wanted to get off the track asap and told him that I had no intention to come with him and asked him to drop me off now. He didn’t answer but reached into his pants and started masturbating while he drove along. I froze up, clutching my backpack on my lap and didn’t know what to do. I kept thinking that I’d jump off as soon as he stopped somewhere and tried to ignore what he was doing there since he didn’t respond to my plea to let me out.
A gas station was coming up and he stopped what he was doing and asked if we should take a shower together. I figured that there’d be people around and that it would make it easier to get rid of him, so I told him sure, why not. He pulled up and as soon as he stopped I yanked open the door and run across the parking area of the gas station hoping that he wouldn’t come after me. He didn’t, so I just kept running until the station was out of sight and I reached a busy street. Only after my heart stopped racing and I caught my breath I realized that I left my shoes at the truck. I walked the last few kilometers bare feet and kept a lookout for the truck until I reached Vienna.
He looked like a long Haired Hitler
From Redditor u/RaccoonYetiKiwi: “I didn’t pick him up myself, but I was with my father who was driving. We got him during the rain. He had long hair that covered his eyes and he was carrying an axe. He looked oddly like a long haired-Hitler, and he had dark hair and mustache. He was extremely polite and we dropped him off where he needed to go with no problems.
I like to think he was a very polite murderer or did that all the time just to see how people reacted.”
Picked up immigrants with no documents
I stopped around sunset when I saw someone at the side of the interstate on the way to Phoenix from Tucson. As soon as I stopped he and 3 more people got into the car.
Before I could say anything, a spotlight hit my mirror, and a state police officer came up, asked me if I was OK, and started questioning my new passengers in Spanish.
He said to me, “You know you have a car load of illegal aliens here, don’t you?”
He then said, I could turn them over to him, where he would keep them in jail overnight and turn them in to INS in the morning, take them up to the next exit and drop them off, or take them to where they were originally headed.
Not quite sure I understood him, I asked him to repeat. He said the same thing again.
I said that if he didn’t mind, I would take them to their destination, which turned out to be an orchard a few miles up the road. He wished me a good evening, and left, while my passengers kept repeating, amigo, amigo!
My Dad picked up a Murderer
From Redditor /u/abrutalcow: “Not my story but my dad’s. He was traveling through Arizona on his way to Mexico. He looked to the side of the road and saw a man hitchhiking. My dad pulled over and asked where the guy is going, to which the man said, ‘The next town over.’
My dad, being a very trusting man and this being the ’70s or ’80s, decided he would give him a ride. While they are driving they start talking, and my father asked for his name. His name was Derp. My dad, quite shocked, looked at him and replied, ‘Holy crap, that’s my name!’ They had a few small conversations and at the next [t]own my dad let him out and continued to Mexico.
He eventually reached the border. He pulled up and the border official asked to see his license. He took a good long look at the license. The official then took off his big aviator sunglasses and told him to pull over to the side. My dad got out of the car and they put him in a room while they searched his car.
He was sitting in the room for a good few hours admiring the entire wall of confiscated tequila when the officer walked back in and apologized for the wait. My dad asked what the reason was and the officer replied, ‘There’s a warrant out for the arrest of Derp.’ Once again dazed, my dad asked, ‘What for?’ The officer replied, ‘Murder.’ My dad damn near crapped his pants.”
‘You sure are pretty,’ and asked me for a number
From Redditor u/HootBear: “I was 18 at the time, driving to get some food on my lunch break. I saw a man probably in his 50s trying to hitch a ride. I was pretty hesitant to stop so I drove by. I felt guilty though, remembering my mom always stopping to help people stranded on the road, homeless, out of gas, etc., so I turned around and offered a ride. He introduced himself (name I cannot remember), and thanked me profusely – he apparently had groceries and told me he didn’t want his meat to spoil in the hot NM weather. He asked to be dropped off at the post office, which was not too far away.
As I drove off, he stared at me for a good minute and the sirens went off in my head. Awkward, creepy, and unsettling. After a bit he blurted out ‘You sure are pretty,’ and asked me for a number. I said no, I have a boyfriend and I am not interested in the least bit. He kept asking and insisting my relationship status was irrelevant. I asked him to stop and he became aggressive. I veered into the closest turn-in, slammed on my brakes, and yelled ‘Is it too much to ask for a little good karma every now and then?! Get out of my car, you cad! (yes I said, cad).’ He gave me a blank look, then just got out much to my surprise. He ended up forgetting his groceries, and what scared me most is the fact that there was no meat, just some eggplants, and nonsense.
Now that I’m older and hopefully smarter I will think about who I pick up a little more; that and it also helps to have my 80 lb dog in tow.”
Dad was almost arrested for Abetting and Aiding
From Redditor u/howboutme: “I stop for hitchhikers. Some background, I’m 36 now. When I was 13-15 I used to hitchhike out in the country to get around when visiting family who lived in the country. It started when I was walking and someone who knew the area just offered me a ride. When I was a kid everyone was perfectly pleasant and nothing untoward ever happened.
Flash forward, many years. I’ve picked up hitchhikers off and on, my dad used to as well. The weirdest one he picked up was some Navajo guy who was walking in middle of the desert while he was doing long haul trucking. The guy literally was in middle of nowhere during a time of the year that the weather could have killed him. He picked him up and traveled with him for about 300 miles and eventually he got stopped by the police and the guy he picked up got arrested.
They threatened my dad with aiding and abetting but nothing came of it and took the guy away. My dad picked him up again several days later driving back to find out that the police kept him for a day or two and then dropped him back off in the middle of the desert near where he was picked up the first time. My dad took him over the state lines to El Paso and he got out and was perfectly pleasant the whole time.”
Threatened to kill a Park Ranger
From a former Redditor: “This is story comes from my father’s experience as a hitchhiker. During the late ’60s early ’70s, when he was between 13-16 years old, my father took off for the summer and went on a big trip around Northeast Quebec. Apparently his parents didn’t care about him. Anyway, as he’s going along, he gets picked up by a bunch of Americans headed up in the same way. I can’t recall if they were these guys were draft-dodgers or vets, but either way, it became pretty clear to him that these guys weren’t completely sane. Not wanting to draw their attention to this fact, he figured that he would take the ride and ditch them as soon as possible.
That first night, they end up in some sort of RV/campground. While making setting up their stuff, one of the rangers comes over and starts giving them trouble. Either they hadn’t paid their fees or didn’t want to pay or whatever. After a little while the ranger leaves and the Americans are really bothered by this guy. Rather than address the issue, they start putting together a plan to off this guy. They’d apparently brought some rifles across the border and thought it would be easier to kill the ranger than be hassled about fees.
My dad is generally a calm guy but when he realized what was going on and that these guys would not be talked out of it, he was thinking ‘What am I getting myself into?’ The next time the ranger comes back, my dad approaches him right away tells him that he’s got to go. I am not sure if he paid the guy or just warned him but either way, the ranger left and didn’t come back.
The craziest part of the story, in my opinion, is that I think he stayed with the guys for a few more days. Rather than peace the heck out like most people would do, they kept him on with them. Probably saved a ranger’s life and saved himself from a much worse fate.”
He shot my brother with a shotgun
From Redditor u/Summat: “My older brother picked up a hitchhiker once after a night of light drinking. The way I heard the story relayed was that after driving for a few minutes the man pulled out a shotgun (god knows how he concealed it, the cops never really figured out that detail of the story) and declared he was going to steal the car. Well, my brother being the self-proclaimed tough guy that he was wasn’t going to have this, so he stopped and tried to pull the guy out of the car to the ground. Next thing you know my brother has a shotgun wound that blew off a chunk of his bicep and the hitchhiker runs off. He made a decent recovery but he still has a chunk gone from his arm and isn’t able to lift heavy things anymore with that one.
I will never pick up a hitchhiker.”
Now that you’ve read the disturbing stories about Hitchhikers, read about The Vanishing Hitchhiker, she disappeared every time before reaching her home.