Mainers Issue Warning About Suspicious Woman at Portsmouth, New Hampshire Bus Terminal
Editor's note: This article was written by a Townsquare Media Northern New England contributor and may contain the individual's views, opinions or personal experiences.
A shady incident happened at C&J Bus Lines on Sunday
Unfortunately with the world we live in today, even if you want to help someone that seems in need, you always need to be overcautious because you never know if it's a ploy or not. Too many times there have been stories of genuine-hearted people attempting to do the right thing and help a hitchhiker get a lift to where they need to go, only to be carjacked or worse.
This was definitely in the back of the minds of Mainers Jim Johnston and his wife, both in their 60s, when they encountered who they say was a white-haired woman who was asking for a ride. Jim recounted their tale in the Portsmouth, NH Facebook group.
"Yesterday afternoon my wife and I (in our late 60s) were at the C&J bus station in Portsmouth to pick up our daughter and a friend. While waiting, a lady with white hair and a suitcase asked us if we were traveling far because her car had broken down and she needed a ride to her house. It seemed odd. Why was she asking us, why hadn’t she called a friend or neighbor, etc.? We told her we had to return to South Berwick, Maine, and couldn’t oblige her. She said that would be perfect though because she’s right on the way. We continued to decline her request and she got more agitated. Finally, I told her to call an UBER. She then said she couldn’t find her phone. By now we were 'middle of NYC annoyed.' Finally, we told her to ask the agent in the terminal to use their phone and to leave us alone. She then left."
Commenters on the post recounted similar experiences
Although not every commenter had a tale to share, some in fact shared similar encounters around the general area.
"This happened to me once in Rochester at the post office. It was an older lady and I did give her a ride but she kept changing where she wanted to go and I finally stopped the car and said you need to get out now. You made the right choice. I had my 10 year old son with me and regretted my decision almost immediately. The woman I gave a ride to clearly had some issues. Either drugs or mental health. I did leave her in a safe spot - not on the highway. Go with your guts, mine said no, but I felt I had to be a 'nice' person." - Tracy Herring-Nugent
"Notice the couple is in their late 60s . No they never should pick any one up. She didn’t say the other lady was old . Just that she had white hair. I don’t trust anyone anymore. I was robbed by some one on a disability motor cart years ago." - Angela Zira
"Things have changed. I was hitchhiking from Pittsburg back to Kittery in the early 1970's. The first person to pick me up seemed very friendly, maybe too friendly. When he asked me where I was going, he said that he wasn't going to be able to help me much. He was going ten miles down the road. We got talking and laughing at our own jokes and he said 'Ya know what? I haven't seen Maine in years!' He drove me to my front door. I had money in my house, and I said, "I have something for you. Come on in." I ran in, got the money I was going to give him and just saw him driving away." - Nelson E Linscott
Some commenters pointed out something entirely different, though
While you most definitely have to remain cautious these days, some commenters pointed out the fact that the woman could have been in actual distress.
"Folks, she may have been suffering from dementia or stroke. Having a family member who has this issue I would ask that we all be sensitive to those around us and not think the worst. Another time call for help please." - Laura Morison Whitney
"I have personally run into this situation twice actually. I’m grateful working as an LNA with long-term care for as many years as I have helped me identify some very important factors indicating a stronger problem. This is absolutely some thing for anyone to be aware of, it is to common these days and age to have family members who do not get the proper care that they need for supervision. Please be kind to everyone!" - Kimber Daniels
Truthfully, we may never know if that woman was confused or had ulterior motives; however, Jim posting the encounter is a good reminder to not only be aware of your surroundings (anywhere at anytime -- this isn't just an encounter isolated to Portsmouth, NH), but also lead with kindness first in a situation like this and always direct someone in need to someone else who can help (if possible).