My son was asked yesterday for cash from a guy that said they had run out of gas. He looked for his wallet and then he couldn't find it. He was just around the corner from his friends place so gave him a call to get some cash from him. His friend declined and said it is most likely a scam. My son later found his wallet packed in his bag, so maybe he was saved from a scam. He is a wide-eyed believer in the best in people.
The folks that picked up the hitch hikers must have felt safe. As a female, I don't feel that safe to put my neck out. I would only give a ride to someone that I knew, but that is just me.
Just being civil by holding doors, assisting young moms with babies and car seats and such... being patient with the elderly all adds to the quality of a community and having just basic manners. A nice smile goes along way too.
I used to work the cash register at a private cafe for a law firm full of lawyers who really only care about themselves. They were a very stuck up bunch. Then one day a new lawyer joined the firm. Every so often during a crazy lunch rush, the kindly new lawyer would hint to me that he also wanted pay for the lunch of the secretary standing in line across from him (the register had a line on both sides of it). Each time it was a different secretary. And each time it was clear that the secretary really appreciated the kind act. Despite the cruel world that we have come to live in, there are least a few nice people left.