I sent out an appeal for "good Samaritan" stories and appreciation of local transportation, and readers had plenty to say. I'm thankful for that.

If these stories prompt more, send them in, and we'll look to run another such column next month.

Dear Dr. Gridlock:

Last August, my husband was driving me from our home in Bethesda to BWI for a flight. On Interstate 95, around Glen Burnie, we had a flat. I was frantic because although we had left plenty of time, AAA said they would not arrive for an hour, and I was at serious risk of missing my plane.

All of a sudden, a cab pulled off onto the shoulder about 50 yards ahead of us. I walked down to the cab and he asked whether we needed help. He had a passenger in the cab whom he was taking to Baltimore!

I asked them both whether it would be all right if he took me to the airport so I could make my flight. They both agreed readily. I was stunned. He would not accept any money from me as a fare, but I tipped him generously for his kindness.

The cabdriver's name is Victor Attoh, Capital Cab No. 66, and his passenger was Katrina Wilson of Savage in Howard County. I am eternally grateful to both of them.

Amy Fine


Dear Dr. Gridlock:

I would like to thank the person responsible for converting a shoulder to a lane of traffic on Route 124 (Woodfield Road), near the Montgomery Airpark.

With this move, overnight, the road could handle twice as much traffic, and the necessity of three lanes narrowing to one was eliminated. There hasn't been a backup since on my trip home from the Metro.

Dorothy Paperiello

Montgomery Village

Dear Dr. Gridlock:

Commuting home is different now that daylight saving time has ended. And, I would say, more difficult in the dark. I grabbed a bus I do not usually take and then was watching out the window to be sure to get off at my stop.

I was so busy concentrating on this that I left my purse on the bus! I did not have much money in it, but all my cards, driver's license and various odds and ends that would be inconvenient to lose.

I ran home and called the Montgomery County Ride-On bus.

They are smart to have two numbers for lost and found; one for the Silver Spring/Wheaton area; another number for Rockville/Gaithersburg.

I reached the Silver Spring number, and the operator said he would radio my bus and call me back.

He called back in 10 minutes to say there was no purse to be found, but he wondered if that was really my bus. Another was due soon and maybe I had been on that one. Sure enough, he called again to say he had my purse.

My bus had been heading for the garage, and he was able to walk out and meet it. The driver said somebody turned my purse in.

I thanked the operator highly and asked for the address of Ride On's lost and found so I could come by the next morning.

He said one of his road crew could bring the purse by my house. I gave the address and in about 15 minutes got a call to say they were waiting outside the house, which indeed they were. Everything that was in the purse was still there.

Janet Rosenkrantz

Takoma Park

Dear Dr. Gridlock:

A while back while driving on Bowie Mill Road in Olney, I had a blowout on my right front tire. As I had no spare tire (let's not go into why I was driving around without a spare), I was stranded on the side of the road.

However, a driver soon pulled over behind me and used his cell phone to call for help. Over the next hour or so, five others also stopped to offer their help and phones.

For all the stories we hear about rude drivers, it was very nice to see this number of people offer help.

David Bancroft


Dear Dr. Gridlock:

I'm writing to thank a good Samaritan who helped me out in my time of need.

I was following my husband who, luckily, had our three kids in the car with him, as we were getting off I-270 at the Falls Road exit around 6:30 p.m. a couple of weeks ago.

I had our small poodle with me in my husband's 4-Runner. As the light turned green everyone started to go, but when I tried to push the gas, the car just rolled backward. Luckily, no one was behind me.

My husband didn't realize that I was no longer behind him. A very nice young man who came up on the exit ramp saw that I was having problems and he immediately pulled over to the shoulder. He got out of his car and raced back to me to see what he could do to help me.

He could see I was upset, and helped make things better by making me laugh and calmly asking what was wrong. The transmission had slipped out of gear, and he told me to put it in park and then back in to drive and it worked!

He quickly ran back to get in his car, and I shouted "Thank you," but I feel bad that I don't even know his name.

It brightens my heart to think that people are still willing to help someone who is in distress, especially in this crazy world. Whoever he is, he was definitely sent by my guardian angel that night, and he is a true great Samaritan!

Debby Orsak


Dear Dr. Gridlock:

My 16-year-old daughter was driving on Interstate 270 north in Frederick County last August when her right front tire blew out and she had to pull onto the median shoulder.

She did not know what to do as she is a relatively new driver. She put on her emergency flashers and called me. I called AAA but was informed it could take up to one hour to get to her.

I immediately went to find her, which took about 20 minutes. As I pulled in behind her, I saw that someone had stopped and was changing her tire. He told me his name was Bobby (unfortunately I did not get his last name).

I saw from the white truck he was driving that he worked for H.D. Johnson Inc., which had a D.C. phone number on the side.

He literally put his life in jeopardy because the location of the tire (front right) was close to the left driving lanes of I-270, and being evening rush hour, the vehicles in that lane were driving fast.

After he changed the tire and put the jack, flat tire and tools away, I offered to pay him. He refused. I also realized as we drove off that he had turned around at an exit just to come back to help her.

My daughter and I just want to say a very big thank you to Bobby.

Lydia and Natasha Watkins


Dear Dr. Gridlock:

Please express my thanks to Marian Morales, the Maryland real estate agent who pulled up behind me on New Hampshire Avenue in the White Oak area of Montgomery County after I had a blowout of my right front tire.

I had been forced to the edge of an access ramp by an SUV going too fast. He tried to pass me, and my tire hit the curb, causing the blowout. He didn't even slow down or look to see what had happened to me.

Ms. Morales parked behind me on a busy highway and said "Can I help you?" I didn't have a phone with me to call AAA, and her battery had run down, so she drove me down the road a mile to a garage, which was just closing (on Saturday at 1 p.m.).

They couldn't help but they had a pay phone for me to call AAA. Marian helped me pinpoint my location, then drove me back to my car while telling me about having her car stop in traffic about midnight one night when she was new to the area and alone.

Despite her fears, a gentleman in a passing car had helped her, then went on his way. She had resolved then that she would help anyone she saw in trouble on the road. Being assured that help was on the way, she went back to work.

Shortly thereafter, a Montgomery County police car came up behind me, and the officer asked me if someone was coming to help. When I said that I was waiting for AAA, they gave me the same estimate the AAA dispatcher had given me -- a 90-minute wait -- and assured me that they would be back to keep an eye on me. (This case occurred during the sniper scare.)

Fortunately, the AAA truck arrived in just 30 minutes, and I went on my way. Despite the aggressive driver in the SUV, the experience with Marian, the Montgomery police and AAA was reassuring. I have always offered to help others in road trouble, and this time, the help came back to me.

Dolores Holleran Murray


Dear Dr. Gridlock:

I would like to give thanks to Metro for the RideGuide on its Web page. This is an incredible service.

I live in Herndon and currently work in Ashburn in Loudoun County, but I just accepted a job that is located at National Airport. One of my biggest concerns in taking the job was the commute, since I had a relatively easy 10-mile, 20-minute commute, and National Airport is about 25 miles away.

I knew that my new employer offered a Metro subsidy, so I wanted to check into using public transportation. I went to the WMATA Web page, put in my starting point, destination, travel date and time and, with the click of a button, I received back three different options involving bus and rail travel.

All three showed the times involved and the cost. At the push of another button, I was able to get a similar combination for my return trip.

I quickly realized that using mass transit was going to make my commute to my new job easy and affordable.

My girlfriend was so impressed with my results that she is planning to use the RideGuide to determine if she can take public transportation to her job in Bethesda at least once a week.

So, thanks, Metro. Nicely done.

Mark Tune


To use this service, log on to www.metroopensdoors.com and click on "Getting Around." Then click on "Plan Your Trip" and you'll be in the "RideGuide" section and can do the same type of research Mr. Tune did.

Dear Dr. Gridlock:

I would like to thank the person/s who put some cardboard in the window of my car during the weekend of Nov. 11. I had left the driver-side window of my SUV open while in the long-term parking area at the Baltimore-Washington International Airport.

I was gone for six days, and apparently it rained for several of those days.

It is so refreshing to know that some people still care. I hope that the person who did this good deed reads this and knows that I thank him/her for his/her kind gesture.

Myriam Bower


Transportation researcher Diane Mattingly contributed to this column.

Dr. Gridlock appears Sunday in the Metro section and Thursday in Montgomery Extra. You can write to Dr. Gridlock, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071. He prefers to receive e-mail, at drgridlock@washpost.com, or faxes, at 703-352-3908. Please include your full name, town, county and day and evening phone numbers. Dr. Gridlock cannot take phone calls.

Amy Fine of Bethesda might have missed her flight at BWI if not for a helpful cabdriver.