It was a random Thursday evening in late October. Julie and I were sitting on the porch in our Columbus, Ohio apartment when I asker her, “Do you want to go to Canada this weekend?” Windsor, Canada was just a three-hour drive for us, so it would be a nice quick trip.
“Sure!” she said, always up for anything.
“We could ask that guy we met a few weeks ago to come with us,” I inquired, and she thought it was a great idea.
We had met our stranger friend, Kevin, a few weeks back having drinks. He seemed like a fun-loving guy, so we figured why not. We sent him a quick message and he agreed to come.
Kevin lived in Cleveland, but was in Columbus for work. He agreed to pick us up on Friday afternoon and we would ride back to Cleveland with him, and then head to Canada. Julie and I barely knew this person, so we questioned our judgment but decided to go for it. He seemed like a decent person. It was just a road trip after all.
We told our brother, Matt, that we were going and he said, “Well I want to go! Why don’t you just pick me up on your way through?” He was living in Toledo, Ohio at the time and we would be driving right past his house. We agreed to pick him up on the way.
So about 4 pm on Friday afternoon, Julie and I hopped in the car with the stranger from Cleveland and started our six-hour road trip. We arrived in Cleveland after two hours on the road. A quick stop at his house, which we learned was not so nice and questioned if it was even livable, to pick up his passport and we were back on the road. The music was blaring and we were dancing and laughing the whole time.
Another two hours and we were stopping again to get Matt. We pulled up to his house and he ran out the door with his bag in his hands. “Mike is coming back from Munich and wants to meet up with us. He’s getting his flight changed to arrive in Windsor, so can we stop to pick him up too?”
“Of course!” we all screeched, excited about our last minute fun. The car was full with all of our luggage, a wheelchair, and us. We crammed in for the 40-minute drive over the border and to the airport. We didn’t have a hotel room, so while Kevin drove, Matt and I perused our smartphones to find something that would work for our group. We found a nice hotel with two adjoining rooms and booked them as we were crossing over the US-Canada border.
We got to the hotel late but headed out on the town to do some gambling. We danced and drank and laughed. It was a nice Friday night to get away. After an exhausting road trip and night of craziness, we headed back to the hotel to sleep in.
The next morning, Mike had a funny story to tell us. While we were all sound asleep, in the middle of the night, he heard a knocking on the door. He got up, confused who could be at the door. On the other side of the peephole was Matt, wearing only shorts and sandals. As Mike opened the door, Matt said, “I got lost…”
Mike was confused, “Well where did you go? It’s the middle of the night?!”
“I don’t know. I just woke up and I was in the ice machine room. I think I was sleep walking…” he replied in a scared and pouty voice as he shuffled his feet on his walk back to his bed.
We spent Saturday afternoon exploring Windsor – drinking, gambling, and getting to know Kevin. He seemed like a decent person but there was just something off with him and we couldn’t quite figure it out. We were all here to have fun though and that’s what we did.
On the way home, after we made the several stops to drop off Mike, and then Matt, we headed back to Columbus, Ohio with Kevin. It was on the way home that the truth came out of Kevin. He subtly admitted to having a crush on Julie and me, and lying about his job, and his personal life, and pretty much everything he had told us. We were thirty minutes from home when this all came out, and we couldn’t wait to rid ourselves of the stranger from Cleveland.
A few days later, we were talking to Matt and Mike and asked them how much we owed them for the hotel and drinks. Neither Julie nor I had paid anything yet and we wanted to be fair. They both responded that they thought they owed us. Come to find out, our stranger friend had paid for all of us. The hotel, our meals, our drinks…everything. And we had no way of getting a hold of him anymore to pay him back. So that’s the story of the time we took a stranger to Canada…and he paid for our entire trip.