Sunday, October 3, 2010

Kosher Hitch

I'm not sure about other communities, but I know in Boro Park, Brooklyn it is common practice for frum people to hitch rides. Now, if you're an adult and make the choice of hitching a ride, albeit a stupid one, its your choice to make. When a person hitches a ride they are putting themselves at the mercy of a total stranger who can essentially drive them anywhere. In Boro Park there is also the understanding of, if theres a frum person driving the car, you're "safe". Again, if grown men and women want to risk getting into a car with a complete psycho, they are free to make that choice.

However, when kids are involved, its a whole other story.

I was recently in a conversation that included a friend of a friend who is a Boro Park resident. The topic of discussion went from high tuition to school bus service. This guy told us that he doesn't use school bus service because its too expensive (The school he sends his kids to only offers private bus service.) We asked how his kids (aged 7, and 9) get to school every day. He nonchalantly told us that he stands on the corner with them and hitches a ride. When he sees a frum person pull over, he talks to them for a minute to make sure they're "kosher" and sends the kinderlach off to school.  Yeah. Every single day.

While my other friend and I were rolling our jaws up from the floor, I thought the obvious. What would possibly compel a person to be so lazy (or stupid), that they'd put their kids lives at risk so they wouldn't have to take them to school?! We tried to explain to him the dangers of doing this, especially on a daily basis. His repeated response was either "Its okay. They're good frum Jews. Its perfectly safe." or "You don't live in Boro Park, you wouldn't understand." I definitely don't understand. After mentioning this to a few other Boro Park residents I learned that this sort of thing is common practice, although all the others said they wouldn't let their child hitch until he or she is Bar/Bat Mitzvad.

13. A 13 year old child who gets driven in strange peoples cars to and from school with the only condition being, the driver needs to be dressed the way Totty dresses. I had hoped that this was really some elaborate chassidish carpooling system, but this really is just complete strangers driving other peoples kids. How do these parents sleep at night?! There needs to be some voice of reason from within the Boro Park community about this problem. Allowing your kids to hitch rides with a complete stranger, no matter how frum they look, is reckless and irresponsible. Heck, even hitching with occasional acquaintances is dangerous! Haven't they seen enough child molesters in handcuffs to know the risks of leaving children unattended with unfamiliar people? I guess not.

This needs to be enforced either by rabbis in the community (not likely) or the police. I'm not sure how. All I know is this is a serious problem that can't continue. Maybe a child or two needs to (G-d forbid) die or get kidnapped before Frumville starts waking up.

1 comment:

  1. This is right up there with the Brooklyn parents who think letting your children play/sleep in the house while you're eating away in the Sukkah is even remotely okay.

    Even after a fire where children were injured this past Yom Tov, parents are continuing to defend this atrocious behavior.