18
Jan
08

106. From the mailbag: Hitching a ride

3298810050.jpgDear Friends and Wanderingvets:

Recently I received an email from a Southern Express truck driver. He was commenting on my episode with Pilot Travel Centers and Wackenhut Security in 33.Dateline Birmingham. He began his letter in a positive manner explaining he is also an army veteran. It soon devolved into a diatribe of him comparing me to his eight year old daughter. Trying to follow the logic here, he goes on to state that hitchhiking is illegal in America. Well of course if it was an illegal activity, I would not do it.

Here is my new friends letter:

Dear Sir,
 
   A friend told me about your website so I thought I’d take a look. Let me start by saying that the security guard was unprofessional. I’ll give you that. Let me also say, that as a professional truck driver I’m not here to give hand outs. I’m also a veteran of the Army and I feel for you in all your doing. But alot of truck drivers do not like being bothered by people looking for rides, money, etc. I understand you did not bother any drivers at the time, but for every one person who doesnt bother us there are ten others who harass us and call us everything under the sun when they do not get their way.
    You sound a little bit like my 8 year old daughter when you were asked to leave the property and stood just five feet off the property arguing with security about “how you were not on the property.” That is the attitude of a child. You were asked to leave so you should have left and not said a word. Let it go and quit whining to Wackenhut and Pilot. You should look for a wiser battle to fight. Whining because you were asked to leave is silly. Pilot Travel Centers have the right to refuse service to ANYONE and ask ANYONE to leave their property. So working everyone else into a frenzy about this is a waste of time…
 
                                 Thank you,
                                       Nate
 
P.S. By the way for someone who thinks they know alot about law don’t you know hitchhiking is illegal… 

Well Nate seems to think it is ok for one to be harassed. The fact of the matter that being in agreement to not bother employees of Pilot Travel Centers or any truck driver just was just not enough. That a homeless veteran must further give up his right of visible appearance is appalling to say the least. Personally I wished Nate had read the article closer.

The fact that Nate was comparing me to a child is ok with me. In a society that lacks common sense or good judgement we see childish behavior everyday. Unfortunately ,what Nate might not be seeing here is the fact that a homeless veteran is a shame on our society. That the fact that 1/3 of the homeless men in this nation ares  veteran defies all statistical analysis, making them the largest category statistically outside of racial or gender groupings. 

I would like Nate to explain to me: Just how far does one go before he feels that it is adequately ok to resume trying to get a ride in this situation? One mile? The next state? It seems that he believes that homeless veterans are supposed to allow themselves to be bullied. Actually in a free society no one should have to experience intolerance from those that deem themselves wrongly, superior. The fact that I was persecuted after the sale must have missed him completely as well. The fact that I had been along the street for two hours previously without issue must have escaped him. I guess to Nate, that even playing by the rules set forth can be childish. I understand that those that like to feel superior, just hate it when their rules just do not work the way they intended. That is the problem with many municipalities today when they are held accountable to their own prohibitive ordinances against the homeless.

Fortunately, even the lazy Birmingham, AL police officer realized that there was no violation on my part and that I was within my rights as a U.S. Citizen. The fact that I knew my ground (as opposed to most 8 year olds, Nate) was the stopping factor and was hopefully educational to the Wackenhut Security Guard, Police Officer, and even Pilot Travel Centers.

I will not say it was a proud moment in Wanderingvets. It was actually a sad moment when I realized after clearly identifying myself and what purpose I was there for that the mistreatment began against me unknowingly and only manifested itself later in the day by Wackenhut and Pilot Travel Centers.

I guess it is ok for corporations to pick on homeless veterans according to this letter as well since Al the disabled veteran in the wheelchair was banned from Starbucks to the point of Starbucks refusing to allow his coffee cup to be filled by his friends. Gee Nate he was not even close to Starbucks property.

I promote respect for ones property and rights. I do not allow mine or others to be abused. I do not believe in breaking the laws of the land either.

Nate mentions hitchhiking is illegal. In some places it is, like in the middle of the interstate. The sides of the road are still legal to try to hitch from. State by State checking is available on digihitch.com.

One thing I do know is my rights, and those of homeless veterans. Nate undoubtedly feels irritable due to the fact that many drivers out there are playing with truckstop prostitutes and he gets his doors knocked on. Well that is your career Nate and I am sure you are an upstanding fellow veteran. But before you quote a law, know its backing please. If I was breaking the law that day in Birmingham, AL I would have been ordered to leave or arrested/cited for my conduct. I would have definitely not been allowed to continue. I would have also ceased and desisted if notified by law enforcement that I was breaking a law.

I like that you brought up the “right to refuse service” Nate. I think it is a grand idea to refuse service to people on various days. How about “No to truckers” day. A day where no one will serve you. I think that would be a wonderful experience for you. Then they can go on to fat people, skinny people, those that drive purple cars…the list is endless. The fact that I more than identified myself to them and did not hide nor act furtive in any manner, infurtiated them greatly. It also made their harassment and attempted abuse that much more directed.

So case in point is I was within my rights. The fact that you do not like it is your side of the coin Nate, and I respect your opinion enough to share it here.

Your Law Abiding Citizen,

Wanderingvet

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3 Responses to “106. From the mailbag: Hitching a ride”


  1. 1 AnAmerican
    January 18, 2008 at 12:33 pm

    It is valuable to have the insight of what truckers experience while on the road from those needing a ride. No doubt Pilot Corp. tries to protect truckers from such harassment by those who agressively approach truckers.
    My take on this entire situation is one of fear actually…that a person who was not bothering anyone was asked to leave a property and then the authorities were brought into the situation by a guard who seemed rather inappropriately vigilant. Seems to me that anyplace who has such “security” guards in place who exert their authority via threats and inappropriate use of their authority aren’t really an added security but rather a real threat to all who might pass within their jurisdiction. (And I might point out that there has been other reportings of a security guard who got trigger happy in a nonemergent situation under the Pilot name.)
    All logistics of this particular situation aside..this is about the fact that we have homeless veterans out on the streets who are in need of some compassion and kindness. It would be great if just one trucker read this post and asked how they might help these veterans out …and offer a solution to benefit such ocurrences so it would never be okay for anyone to treat another person with such methods. It would have been really nice if Pilot Corp. answered inquiries about this incident and even apologized. Golden Coral even opens it’s doors to the veterans of our country and has garnished much admiration for their efforts just by offering up what they do best. It is about finding ways to help our veterans out. And if Wanderingvet “works everyone into a frenzy about it” so much the better .It is time we remove the blinders from the fact that we have veterans who need help…this is just one grassroot way to heighten awareness of a group who deserve so much more than what they have been getting.

  2. January 18, 2008 at 4:52 pm

    It’s amazing that so many people like Nate, are so convinced that it’s okay to refuse service to anyone for any reason – that is until it occurs to them, then they are the ones who scream at the top of their voices about being profiled and/or discriminated against.

    Let me share with you a posting about another Veteran who was also discriminated against because he just happened to be homeless…

    http://slohomeless.wordpress.com/2007/03/31/profiles/

  3. January 20, 2008 at 11:44 pm

    That’s telling them Wanderingvet

    We have a situation right now in our city where the entire population of unhoused homeless is being evicted from the city limits due to profiling. Apparently there were some smash and grab burgularies in the area (which just as easily could have been teenagers looking for CD money).

    The city decided that all homeless were to be run out of town (apparently just in case). That includes two of my personal local homeless veterans, Al and Perry.

    I’ve a couple of stories in my blog. I’ve also written the Mayor and Council for comment but none is forthcoming so far. There is a tree full of charitable and service organizations piling on the pressure. They have to be out by Monday 1-21-08.

    Oldtimer


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