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Giving Rides to Strangers (and guarding against physical attack)

Todd Burch

Voltage makes me tingle.
Nov 3, 2009
7,877
29,113
Smithfield, VA
I'm often approached by people asking about the car, which is cool. Many times they jokingly ask for a ride, but I'm usually in a hurry to go somewhere.

Today, a complete stranger walks up, asks about the car, and jokingly asks for a ride, not expecting a response in the affirmative. And for the second time in as many months, I gave a ride to a complete stranger. He was blown away. Recorded the whole tour and 5 minute ride on his cell phone. I expect it on YouTube soon ;).

On the one hand, it's good to spread the word about the car and EVangelize. On the other hand, this of course has potential dangers. (By the way, one of the rides resulted in a Model S purchase--Hi Margaret!)

So how do you all handle this situation?
 

bonnie

I play a nice person on twitter.
Feb 6, 2011
16,427
9,740
Columbia River Gorge
I don't give rides to strangers off the street. Just. Not. Gonna. Happen. But I spend plenty of time talking about the car (Roadster in my case). One guy totally weirded me out, trying to hand me $10 to give him a ride. Ew!

I do always have brochures.
 

lolachampcar

Well-Known Member
Nov 26, 2012
5,158
2,432
WPB Florida
I'm a sucker. I give rides. I just love to live vicariously through my guests as they experience the very confused nature of MS for the first time.

Confused == Am I a Bentley with my ride? Am I a Ferrari with my brakes? Am I a 750Li with my size? Am I a Viper with my acceleration? and on and on and on
 

SigGuy

Member
Feb 15, 2012
140
241
Los Angeles
I've given rides to strangers several times and even let one guy (with his hot girlfriend) drive it last week. Case by case basis of course but I really enjoy showing the car off and getting others excited about it. I think I know the difference between psycho and Tesla enthusiast. Hmmm... on 2nd thought, that dividing line is a little sketchy...
 

Owner

Active Member
Dec 20, 2012
1,532
322
San Francisco Bay Area
In four years of Tesla car ownership, I have to admit no stranger has ever asked me for a ride -- even jokingly.

This may be regional? Tesla's aren't that unusual here. And we probably aren't as nice as folks in Virginia? Or perhaps Californians don't expect anyone to take time out for them...
 

yobigd20

Well-Known Member
Oct 28, 2012
5,927
529
Skaneateles, NY
My 2c - you can't live you life living in constant fear. The world is not as bad as it's made out to be. Well, at least not here in our little bubble we call U.S.A. There are lots of good people out there, and frankly I think the likelihood of a stranger having intent to harm is so fractionally small that you're really just adding into that stereotype. But you do have to make a judgement call pretty much based on appearance on whether or not this stranger would have some other intentions. In 'cop terms', this would be called profiling, and while many think that is morally wrong in some way, it is actually effective. Now, that being said, would I give a stranger a ride when my kid is in the back seat? Absolutely not. If it was just me, probably..if I have spare time and the person doesn't "look" dangerous. Maybe I'm just a little hippie in that sense then lol
 

bonnie

I play a nice person on twitter.
Feb 6, 2011
16,427
9,740
Columbia River Gorge
My 2c - you can't live you life living in constant fear. The world is not as bad as it's made out to be.

While I'm sure your two cents was well meant, you can't assume that someone (like me) not giving strangers rides is 'living in constant fear'. In fact, that's laughable.

I've worked as a jumpmaster (586 jumps), have explored dark areas of jungles, etc etc. I've hiked remote areas of this world with only a dog as a hiking companion. There isn't much I won't try. I don't live in constant fear. But, I'm not stupid. My Roadster almost got jacked a few years ago in a nice middle-class area of town. (Not going to look for the link to the story now, but expensive looking cars are a draw.) I'm not about to lock myself in my $150K car with a stranger.

Let me ask all you guys here ... would you want your wife/sister/daughter/mother giving strangers rides in an expensive car?
 

Doug_G

Lead Moderator
Apr 2, 2010
17,880
3,346
Ottawa, Canada
Over the last three years I have probably given a couple of hundred people rides. Some were at ride-n-drive events or club meetings, but most were not. Quite often I give rides to people I meet for other reasons; few are random off-the-street people. For that latter group I only offer if I'm totally comfortable with their vibe AND they're incredibly keen about the car, e.g. the "wow, is that really a TESLA!?!?!" types.
 

dsm363

Roadster + Sig Model S
May 17, 2009
18,278
151
Nevada
This is totally a personal comfort thing and common sense mixed in as well. Not wanting to do it doesn't mean someone is living in constant fear, maybe just that is not something they prefer to do with their personal car and a stranger. Others might enjoy doing it so a personal preference thing. I've given a number of rides and even let a few people drive it. Definitely have to be aware of your surroundings and get a sense of who you're taking for a ride.
 

bonnie

I play a nice person on twitter.
Feb 6, 2011
16,427
9,740
Columbia River Gorge
To clarify, I've given hundreds of rides at ride events, neighborhood events, etc. That's different than some guy walking up to me in the supermarket parking lot saying, 'Hey, I'll give you $10 bucks if you let me drive your car.' I list my outlet on PlugShare & that includes my home address.
 

steve841

Active Member
Jan 17, 2010
1,939
647
Ft. Lauderdale, FL
My Roadster almost got jacked a few years ago in a nice middle-class area of town. (Not going to look for the link to the story now, but expensive looking cars are a draw.) I'm not about to lock myself in my $150K car with a stranger.

Let me ask all you guys here ... would you want your wife/sister/daughter/mother giving strangers rides in an expensive car?

Three words: large caliber firearm
 

artsci

Sponsor
May 10, 2012
6,256
3,229
Timonium, Maryland
No way I'd give a ride to a total stranger on the street, no matter how well he or she looked or dressed. At EV events though I've given rides in my Volt to folks, even let them drive it.
 

vetboy45

Member
Feb 14, 2013
62
0
Kent wa
I was just thinking something similar Steve. I wouldn't want my wife to give rides but if anyone tried anything, they'd be wishing they hadn't asked for that ride.
 

dave

Member
Sep 21, 2012
462
5
Greater Cincinnati
I've never had a complete stranger ask for a ride, but I have offered rides to a few people I had just met. They all ended up being cool people!

personally I hate the feeling of showing off, but sometimes you can tell that the person would really appreciate it, and it makes their day!
 

Arnold Panz

Model Sig 304, VIN 542
Apr 13, 2009
1,340
3
Miami, Florida
Tesla is only about 10 miles from me .... I refer them there!

This is what I do in a lot of circumstances. As much as I like to tout the car, I tell people that they can answer a lot more questions, and give a test drive at the store(s) nearby. I'm lucky to love someplace I can use that as an excuse not to give test rides. And it's not fear so much as I never have that much free time to give any stranger a ride.
 

yobigd20

Well-Known Member
Oct 28, 2012
5,927
529
Skaneateles, NY
Three words: large caliber firearm

hah, that reminds me of a joke ...

"A cop pulls over a little old lady of about 75 yrs old for speeding. As she reaches in her purse to get her license, the cop notice's her Conceal Carry Permit. He ask's " Mame i see you have a CCP , do you have a gun on your person at this time?" She said yes I do, I have Glock 40 cal in the glove box. He say's is that the only weapon you have on your person? She said no. I have a 9mm in my purse, a 45cal in the console, and a Remington Pump 12 gauge in the trunk.

The cop ask's "Lady what the hell are you so afraid of?" She answers "Not A DAMN THING!!"

LOL

On a more seriously note though, to comment re:Bonnie, no I didn't mean that would solely mean living in constant fear. I understand that is just outside of a lot of people's comfort zone and that's totally cool, no problem. However, no, I would not be comfortable with my wife/sister/daughter/mother giving strangers rides in an expensive car. But perhaps if they were armed, or highly skilled in MMA and jiu-jitsu, and used good sense here, then ok maybe, I'd trust their judgement then. But hold on, I have a brilliant solution to all of this! If Tesla just installs an ejector seat in the passenger side that is initiated by a flip switch of some sort on the drivers side, then totally yeah I'd be cool with anyone at all giving test rides to people LOL :p
 

steve841

Active Member
Jan 17, 2010
1,939
647
Ft. Lauderdale, FL
A buddy of mine (yes Bonnie, he's a redneck) was driving up the road and someone was hitchhiking ... he, with his dog by his side, stopped and gave the guy a lift ...

Soon after climbing in, the dog was growling at the guy. Few miles go by the guy starts asking to "borrow" some money, buddy tells him its a ride ... nothing more. Dog growls more and shows teeth ... Guy keeps asking. Buddy tells guy to get out as he's slowing down... guy calms down a bit, and as my buddy speeds up hiker starts getting belligerent. My buddy pulls out the .45 his dogs is laying on and tells his guest to exit the vehicle ... which he does promptly at around 65mph ....

He left behind the knife he was sitting on ...
 

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