DEAR ABBY: When I saw that letter from "Worried," whose husband picks up hitchhikers, I had to write. He may do it because it makes him feel good, but he should listen to his wife. Or maybe he would rather hear it from me. I've had firsthand experience.
My grandfather was also a kind man. One day that kindness led to tragedy. He had always said if he needed a ride, he hoped someone would pick him up. One day, he saw a young man walking on the highway "thumbing" a ride. My grandfather couldn't ignore the man, so he gave him a ride. That was the last ride my grandfather gave anybody. He was brutally beaten to death. He was thrown into a ditch, with only a blanket to cover him. His body was discovered a week later by a bus full of schoolchildren returning from spring vacation.
Because of his age and "good behavior," my grandfather's killer served only a few years for his crime.
"Worried" should ask her husband to read this letter. Perhaps then he will realize that someday my grandfather's story may be his own. I know how this hurt our family. I hope my letter will save another family from a similar tragedy. -- CONCERNED IN WASHINGTON
DEAR CONCERNED: I, too, hope your letter will serve as a warning to other kindhearted but misguided souls.
Never pick up a hitchhiker. If someone appears stranded on a street or highway, the prudent way to lend assistance is to notify the police, sheriff or highway patrol.