Puzzle Hunts: Skip Guy

On the morning of June 13, 2004, a few people waited on the Northeast corner of Chestnut and Fillmore in San Francisco. I was one of those people, and I was waiting. This corner was a bus stop. Some of the people were waiting for a 30 Stockton bus. Some of them waited for the 43 Masonic. We stood. Some of us idly watched the traffic move past. Some of us read. I read.

Suddenly, a disturbance: two runners burst through the crowd, yelling, "Skip! Skip!" The runners were in a hurry; they were not waiting for anything. They scrambled over to me, asked "Are you Skip? Can we take a picture with you?" I acquiesced. One of the runners held a camera out at arm's length; we all leaned together and smiled. One of them asked: "Is your name really Skip?" I admitted that it was not. The camera clicked. The runners carefully checked the photo to make sure that we all appeared. They shouted "Thank you!" as they swung back into motion, running west.

Once again, all was calm at the bus stop. But now no one watched the traffic. No one read. Everyone else was looking at me. Once of them asked, "Ah, what just happened?" Another one said, "I bet it's a scavenger hunt. I bet those guys need to get their picture taken with this guy."

"You are exactly right," I replied. I grinned. There were several pairs of scavenger hunters making their way through the city, looking for various locations hinted at by various clues. And they were looking for me based on a photo and a clue. If they found me, they could skip one location. Thus, I was the "skip guy".

In other words, I was a minor celebrity for one morning, at one bus stop.

Then a bus came along and took away everyone at the stop but me. I was waiting, but not for a bus. I was waiting to be discovered by the next pair of runners.


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