The reminders that our highways are a danger zone jump at you off the pages of this newspaper nearly every day. Here are two of many stories we've received in which strangers reached out to help a driver in distress.
Tearful on 'Some Road With a T'My daughter, a relatively new owner of a driver's license, had been eagerly anticipating making her first solo voyage from our Maryland home to her brother's home in Virginia. Within 20 minutes, Molly called us on her cellphone in tears: The car had just "bumped against" the curb and was "kind of hard to drive."
Okay, everyone has to have their first accident.
"We'll be right there to get you. Where are you?"
"I don't know. Some road with a T, I think."
I was trying to calm her down when a woman pulled up. The woman took the phone, telling me "Tuckerman Lane" and the cross street. She guided my daughter and her car off the street. My daughter assured her she could wait alone for us. The woman was hesitant to leave but needed to pick up a cheesecake from Balducci's. She even asked Molly if she wanted to come with her.
"No, thank you."
She returned after getting that and checked on Molly. When she saw the situation was under control, she left. We arrived, had the car towed and went home for hot chicken soup. In all the fluster and tears, we never got the woman's name.
So, to Mrs. Cheesecake in the Mercedes, thank you! If not for you, our daughter could still be sitting in tears on "T street."
-- Shelley Rochester, Burtonsville
The Sound of a Tire Rim on Ice I'm on Interstate 395 south over Hains Point, on my Valentine's Day morning commute at 27 degrees through rivers of slush. I hear the president's helicopter approaching. "The president is preparing to land on my minivan roof" is my last thought before I smell burning rubber and experience impaired driving ability; a tire rim on ice sounds surprisingly like an approaching chopper. I pull around the bend, coming to a stop near a stand of sleet-decked cherry trees.
Ten minutes into the minivan's inaugural tire change, a middle-aged man in a purple ski jacket and hiking boots trudges down the ramp. He approaches, saying, "I almost got killed right here two years ago. The trucks come barreling down this ramp."
Lying under the minivan, cursing the spare tire storage mechanism as slush permeates my sweater, I do not pick up the conversation.
He walks back up the ramp and, standing in the slush, slows approaching vehicles, waving his arms and barking, "Slow down!" By the time traffic reaches me, it is at an almost reverent crawl.
Thirty minutes later, I walk over to shake my spotter's hand. He mumbles something about this being a dangerous ramp and walks off into the cherry tree grove before I have the presence of mind to offer him a ride or ask his name.
-- Soren Johnson, Northeast Washington