Kent gives some guy a ride, and a friendship is born
by Kent Roberts
Self-publishing icon and 3:15 AM-alarm-setter Kent Roberts was driving north in Texas the other day when he saw a young vagabond with a sign. The drifter looked a little disorganized as Kent’s car approached, preparing his sign, which notably only used half of its cardboard to present the destination “FORT WORTH” (see picture).
Kent unlocked the door, and the man approached with his belongings. Suddenly Kent realized that there was going to be another person in his car, along with all of his belongings – a complete stranger with completely unverified stuff.
When the guy sat down, Kent couldn’t even make eye contact with him. He just applied the gas and shifted seamlessly into his default counteroffensive tactic, inundating the man with words – making it impossible for either of them to think straight so that they were on even footing.
Man, you were standing at just the right place. You know what you’re doing. [Slight pause] I’ve only hitchhiked once, in Colorado, and my friend and I got picked up by a limousine. [Slight pause] So, I just bought these shoes today. I couldn’t get into the room where my shoes are, so I went to Target, walked through the parking lot and back to the shoe section just wearing my socks.
The weary traveler was able to sneak in a thanks, an oh wow, and a that’s great. He seemed to think the first part was flattering, the second part was incredible, and the last part was amusing, all of which pleased Kent greatly.
Kent gave his passenger a bottle of water and asked him if he was hungry. The man, henceforth known as Kent Friend Tray (KFT), said that he was hungry but didn’t have any money. Kent gave him a banana. KFT said that it was enough to fill him up because his stomach had shrunk from lack of eating.
KFT said that he was making his way from Florida to Oregon. He said that he thought people were more valuable than money.
When they stopped at Dichotomy coffeehouse in Waco and went up to the deck, KFT said that Kent was one of the best three rides he ever had.
Kent could see what was happening here. He was being presented with a challenge – was he prepared to be the best?
When Kent opened his wallet and removed all its cash at the end of the ride, KFT immediately promoted him to the “top ride ever” position. $46 well spent.