I promised to write this post long time ago in my previous post:
I grow up in Kuwait, a place where the average temperature during the summer is 120 F (48 C). In the emergency hospital rooms you see cases that you don’t see in other colder countries such as children suffering skin burns because of contact with metal objects exposed to the sun and daily huge number of collapsed construction workers working under the burning sun. Because of such burning sun my father used to give rides to strangers on the street.
I learned this act of kindness from him and got used to giving rides to people I don’t know in Jordan and students I don’t know on my motorbike in Malaysia. In my first year in America I tried to give a free ride as well but later found it could have been my biggest mistake ever.
Within two months of getting my American driving license I was driving back home from school under a heavy rain storm. Being from the desert land I had never seen anything like that rain. The rain was so sever I could hardly see the car in front of me. When I stopped at a stop sign I noticed two kids completely soaked. They looked like a sister and her brother. The sister was about 13-year-old and her brother was about 8 or 9. I opened the passenger’s window and told them to get in the car to give them a ride. The little girl said “No, thank you.” Seeing that they don’t have an umbrella and how bad the weather was I offered my help again and told them I will give them a ride to wherever they were going to but the girl refused again. I think I repeated my offer three times but every time the girl refuses. At that time it made no sense to me that they refused riding a car safely to their home. It turned out different cultures think different. Believe it or not but I interpreted their refusal to get in my car that they didn’t want to wet my car seats since they were soaked. Truly, this is what I thought. Yes, I was that naive back then
Years later, I found out how lucky I was that this smart girl refused to ride with a stranger. Of course when you live in America you learn that what I did was the stupidest thing ever. I can’t even imagine how stupid that move was.
In the U.S., I learned that a man should stay away from strange kids and teenagers under 16 or 18, as much as possible. Unfortunately, in the U.S. there are many sex predators, or sex offenders, who kidnap children. I believe it is one of the worst things here in the U.S. The police and other organizations provide a public service for people to check if your neighborhood has any sex predators. It is that big of a problem. Because no landlord let sex offenders rent a house or an apartment, sex offenders live together in one house provided by, I think, the government. The problem is so big some malls in America ban teenagers from entering the malls without being accompanied by an adult.
One of the many attitudes I like about Americans is that they smile to strangers including guys who look from the Middle East like me. But in the US you should know whom you smile to. The first time I went to Walmart to buy stuff for my new apartment I was happy to see the cute American children. They are very cute you just want to play with them. When my friend saw me smiling to a kid he told me to never do that again. Later, I understood why and I think unfortunately it is true that there are many bad men in the U.S. who kidnap children for their sexual weirdness sickness.
Because this is a big deal parents became very protective of their children. The number one rule parents teach their children here is to NEVER SPEAK WITH STRANGERS.
Like me when I came to the US, Arab families who are new in the US don’t know how dangerous it is to leave their children play in the park without being watched by an adult. I have seen it many times. We go out to the park and I see the parents without their kids when I ask them where their kids are they tell me they are playing somewhere.