Having taken 33 separate rides from perfect strangers during a solo quest across Canada, Steve Madgwick learned a thing or two about humanity. He also learned that, sometimes, it’s OK to wait for the next ride. 

I’ve never looked at a Coke bottle and thought, “Wow, that’s a great weapon.” But right now, it’s all I have.

“Dude, where ARE you going?” I say, my voice breaking pre-pubescently. I don’t usually call people dude or consider weapons much either. “I’ll just get out here, thanks.” No response—again. Shit.

He’s just swerved off the Trans-Canada Highway, down an obscure off-ramp. Newfoundland basically has one main road and he knows this is not where I’m headed. I grip the bottle purposefully, ready, not sure how, when or if to clobber him. At this speed, he’ll crash the car and kill at least one of us, for sure.

He’d stopped answering my questions about 10 minutes ago; his face betrays vague torment, void eyes dead-ahead, like a goat on hallucinogens. At first, he asked probing questions like, “Are you meeting someone there?” Apparently, he wasn’t pleased with my answers. Scared, but not wanting to startle him, I invented nearby friends of considerable mass and superpowers, but now …