Written by: Brandon "Monkey" Imp
Where are we? Why is EVERY single person so nice?? We all know that New Jersey/New York has the stereotypes of fast-paced, rude, inconsiderate, and other negativity's. Granted, most people are NOT like that (it is not a spawning ground of evil); nevertheless, the stereotypes are generally true when dealing with strangers in NJ/NYC.
Down in Georgia? Nope. People go out of their way to assist you. Take for example the Hiawassee Inn attendant. Through the thick accent (imagine King of the Hill's Boomhauer) I understood that all of his approaches were kind and sincere. We were walking back to the room after a filling all-you-can-eat buffet meal when the attendant came up to us in the parking lot. Translated: "Hey you all need some laundry done? We have all these washers and driers. You can do it for free. Just bring it over to that door. I'll be inside." Earlier he offered extra towels, and later he told us that Ronnie (the owner) could bring a box of stuff for us to our next destination Franklin, NC. Some would say this is his job, but to me, it is an extension of southern hospitality. Think about it - most hotel/motel workers will help you out in any way, but generally stay behind their front desk. You go to them. Here at the Hiawassee Inn, this guy came out to meet us, came to our room, and offered various tips without being prompted.
He has not been the only one extending a helping hand. Every person we have encountered has been considerate and genuine. Yesterday, a lawyer of Hiawassee picked the group up on the side of the road, was a shuttle to the liquor store, and gave a little tour of the town. Then, he gave us his number so we could call for a ride BACK to the trail. In NJ, if I saw a backpacker on the side of the road, I would honk. And sure, friends and family give rides to and from places all the time up north. But do we provide round-trip service for strangers? Nope. Sorry, I would not risk picking up a shabby looking man on a Philadelphia on-ramp. It just would not happen up north.