You've heard the ones about the rude cabdriver, but driver Bobby Dixon has one about the, well, less-than-gracious customer.

Dixon, a part-time cabbie from Suitland, was tooling along K Street NW in 1983 when an elderly man, neatly dressed in a business suit, hailed him to stop. It wasn't until half a block later and several rounds of police gunshots that Dixon realized that his passenger was not what he seemed to be.

Dixon's passenger was suspected of holding up a savings and loan branch just before getting in the cab.

Dixon "was frightened to death," attorney Charles A. Kubinski said of his client, who filed a $450,000 suit Friday against Charles Lawrenson, who is serving a sentence at Lorton Reformatory for the robbery of a National Federal Savings and Loan Association branch on Connecticut Avenue.

"Here was an old man with a business suit, well dressed, with a brief case. He looked like a good fare. Then it was bang, bang, bang," said Kubinski of a shootout between Lawrenson and police officers, which left Lawrenson wounded and Dixon running for cover after police stopped the innocent cabdriver and ordered Lawrenson to get out.

Lawrenson fired his gun at the officers and police returned fire, wounding him and shattering a cab window.

Kubinski said Dixon did not receive a fare for the trip.