Tom offers a girl a lift

Two-minute story

Tom offers a girl a lift

She was standing alone by the bus stop and waved him down as he slowed for the corner. There were more people hitch-hiking then and she’d be company for the journey to the next town. In any case, Tom was comfortable with a woman’s company; amongst his acquaintances he had something of a reputation as a womaniser.

She was comfortable in the passenger seat. She did ease herself away from him towards the door – the old Austin had a transverse seat that could provide for two passengers alongside the driver – but she sat upright then turned towards him as he eased the car away from the kerb.

“There’s a lay-by about a mile up the road here.” She nodded with her head and Tom leaned over towards her to make sure that he caught her next words. “I want you to pull over there and hand me your wallet.” He felt his mouth drop open and she continued. “If you don’t I’m going to the police and I’ll complain that you assaulted me.”

There was not much time to think, but Tom found himself parked in the lay-by. To one side he felt for the handbrake which he applied slowly, before withdrawing his hand. Then he turned to her, as if to make sure that he was not imagining all this, but she was sitting there now, dead still, staring straight ahead. Her right hand was held out, steady, demanding, ready for him to do as he was told. From somewhere under his right side he found his wallet and tugged it from his jeans pocket.

Once she had got out she spoke again. “Thanks for the lift.” Then she slammed the door.

Does anything surprise you about this incident?

What should Tom have done in response to the girl’s demand for his wallet?

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