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You Never Know Who Listens to the Same Podcast as You

A podcast listener named Susan Guttentag, an associate professor of pediatrics at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, writes in to say:

I was compelled to email you after the following incident on our recent visit to Whitefish, Montana.  My husband and I had finished a terrific bike trip through Glacier and Waterton Parks, and we were spending a couple of extra days in Whitefish, a very lovely town in the Flathead River Valley. We noticed that there was a terrific hike to the top of the local ski resort on Big Mountain and decided to venture out. Sadly, the trail starting point was a hefty distance away — too far to tack onto what proved to be a 4 h hike to the top– but the lodge did not provide shuttle service to this area.  My husband suggested that we — wait for it — hitchhike!  In nearly 53 years on the planet, I had never once hitchhiked but my husband is 6’3″ so I thought “why not?” I had listened to your podcast on hitchhiking and was somewhat comforted by the data.

Two cars passed us by before a small pickup truck with a golden retriever in the back pulled over.  The driver waved us in and took us up to the trailhead. After exchanging the basics, she told us that she’s never stopped for hitchhikers–wait for it–but had recently listened to a Freakonomics podcast on the subject and figured we were a safe bet.  We all laughed about our common experience with your podcast as she drove us up the mountain.  Thanks to our driver and her dog Tucker, we were able to hike the Danny On Trail.

Oh, yeah, and on the way back we were blessed with encountering another generous ride from Paul and Edna, and since Edna worked at the Lodge, we suggested that she should encourage the manager to provide shuttle services up the mountain.  In spite of our success, it seemed like the right thing to do.