|Fact or fiction! It can often be hard to tell|
It’s been quite common among law enforcement people to hear unbelievable excuses for speeding and other minor traffic violations. In fact, I’ve heard some excuses were so unbelievable that an officer said no one could make up such an excuse unless it was true, and then issued only a warning.
Prior to a recent Nebraska football game, we heard such type of a story not involving a traffic violation but, from a California hitchhiker who was talking with an attendant in the Nebraska Press parking lot.
The Californian had asked if there was any way to get a bottle of water. The attendant went into the office and brought him two -- compliments of house. The attendant then related the “rest of the story” to me.
That morning the man had arrived in Lincoln after hitchhiking all the way from California. He had left on the previous Wednesday and thumbed rides to Lincoln arriving the day of the game to watch his son play for the Cornhuskers. Unfortunately, he had exited his ride at the Ninth Street exit on I-80 and misunderstood the stadium was at the east edge of Lincoln. He walked nearly 30 blocks before realizing his mistake and eventually arrived back near the stadium via a patron who leases space in the parking lot.
We do not know if he visited his son prior to game time, but we do know the hiker came back to the parking lot near the end of the game and asked the attendant if he could use the office restroom and change his shirt that was in his knapsack. The Californian then continued by telling the attendant a Nebraska gentleman was buying him a bus ticket to Grand Island while another generous Nebraskan had arranged to get him an airline ticket from G.I. back to the West Coast.
Now the real question comes whether this is just a tall tale or has credence. I would hope the Californian was telling the truth. We do know there are many Nebraskan who would be willing to help a stranger in such a situation. However, it makes me have a guilty feeling when the question of “truth or tale” enters my mind. On the other hand, it would have taken a lot of imagination to make up a story such as this and maybe the Californian should be writing novels.
RL Furse is publisher emeritus of the News-Register