Iowa nice can always be nicer

Opinion - Hitchhiking

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Opinion – Hitchhiking

Logan Mcdonald

In Hawaii, just like in Iowa, hitchhiking is illegal.

In a recent visit to Maui, I found that, unlike in Ames, hitchhikers are all over the place.

This probably has a lot to do with the small size of the island, but there’s something else that makes the people of Hawaii different. They’re friendlier. This is coming from a person who has lived in Iowa his whole life, grown up in the small town atmosphere and visited Los Angeles and New York and knows how heartless a place can feel.

While I have never hitchhiked myself, I have given hitchers in Iowa rides in the past. It just seems like a nice thing to do to help someone out, especially when it really doesn’t cost you anything. With no mass transportation around Iowa to speak of, it seems perfectly reasonable to hitchhike here. Which leads me to the original supposition: As nice as we Iowans are, we could still be nicer. It’s more than just an observation about hitchhiking that lead me to this belief.

Imagine walking into a post office – a government building – and seeing a guy wearing only a pair of board shorts being helped at the counter. Imagine that customer is being treated like normal, like no shirt and no shoes is expected.

There is no way this could happen in Ames.

Cops would be called, children would cry out and mothers would have to shield their eyes. But this exact circumstance happened in Maui; and it happened at just about every business I went to.

There seems to be no concept of a “no shirt, no shoes, no service” policy, which gets me to question the policy in Iowa.

Why be so exclusive to let the fully clothed get service, while those without shoes are denied? Why allow roadways strictly for people that own vehicles and not everyone that needs to get somewhere else?

I’m sure someone could say something about safety or cleanliness, but those seem like poor excuses for humbuggery and a lack of acceptance.

All of this is not to say Iowans are mean people, because that is obviously not true. Plenty of times I’ve seen people help an elderly person with their groceries or chase after a person that forgot something at a restaurant. That small town value of helping out your neighbor has been ingrained into most all of us. It’s too easy to leave your change in the take-a-penny-leave-a-penny tray or toss out your burger wrappers at McDonald’s and think that you’ve done your part for the day.

Just think that maybe you can do something more, and go that extra mile for a friend or even someone you don’t know. The next time you see someone on the side of the road with their thumb out, even if you don’t want to pick them up, at least let them be a reminder that it’s always possible to be a little friendlier, a little more accepting.

And the next time you need to drop off a package at the post office, consider going shirtless. We’ve all got to start somewhere.