By the time she phoned, Suki Tillotson had calmed down a little. But after she explained why she was calling, I was as upset as she had been 25 minutes earlier.

Suki had just arrived at her office after a harrowing morning on the George Washington Memorial Parkway. While en route to work in McLean from her home in Rosslyn, she was only a few yards behind a driver who lost control and plowed into a tree beside the highway.

A female passenger was obviously injured, so Suki rolled down the window as she inched past and asked if anyone had called an ambulance. No one had, so she volunteered.

Suki roared ahead and got off the GW at the first possible exit -- Rte. 123. She pulled into the first gas station she saw. She told the manager that there had been an accident, and could she use the phone?

"You'll have to use the pay phone for that," he told her.

"But someone's hurt," Suki said.

"The pay phones are right over there," the manager said, as he walked away.

Luckily, the pay phones were the no-coin-needed kind, so Suki reached 911 right away. And within 30 seconds, an ambulance was en route.

But can you believe the cold shoulders on some people? Did the manager think someone was about to call on his main phone and offer him a million dollars? A pretty sorry performance, not-so-kind sir.