For the sake of this column, I have changed names of everyone involved, and those who I am referring too should be the only ones who know it’s them.

So, let’s get started.

Recently, I heard this story about a woman who is much tamer now than in her young, wilder days.

Tammy and her friend, Crystal, were at a local Hardee’s enjoying ice cream in the parking lot about 20 years ago.

A hunk on a motorcycle came revving by, and the young teens hollered and waved at the young stud who came back ready to take Tammy for a ride.

As she threw Crystal her car keys, she said, “If I’m not back in two days, come find me,” and off she went.

The two went cruising through town and off to Gravel Hill.

Of course, Tammy lived because she was able to tell me the story just the other day.

But, would you do that today?

Just wave and jump on a Harley of a stranger.

I’m not sure, or at least I thought I wouldn’t.

I always thought, “You don’t trust people in this day and age.”

But, I’d like to argue this point.

People always point out that all you hear this day and age is negative.

You hear of the killers, the drug dealers, the rapists and so on, and yes, us pesky newspapers and other media sources are the ones to blame.

But, is it really worse?

I don’t think so.

I think word just travels easier today. I mean it is the 21st century.

Being out at the beach recently, of course I ran into some creepers who I had to avoid or tell to leave me alone, but generally, they listened after a stern, “No, leave me alone.”

P.S. Ladies, don’t giggle when you do this. They’ll never take you seriously.

But, I also ran into a group of young men with whom we danced, had a couple of beers, and their designated driver drove us back to our hotel.

We were all strangers.

My friend recently told me we could have been raped or killed. Of course, we could have. But, were we? No.

You and I aren’t bad, so why should we assume that everyone else or most are. I don’t think that’s fair or a fun way to live life.

I also would like to point out that I met my previous boyfriend in a bar.

He was a complete stranger.

The night I met him, we ended up sitting in his truck talking about life. He never even made a move. Not once.

He had every opportunity to.

They’re not all bad.

Just look for signs and use your best judgment, but don’t write off all of them just because, “You shouldn’t trust everyone in this day and age.”

Ashley Hodge reports for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact her at

Ashley Hodge is the editor for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact her at