Superlatively Speaking

While some of the year’s biggest news stories are impossible to forget — the Navy Yard shootings and the government shutdown come immediately to mind — the smaller, weirder ones are much more fun to remember. So, for a more light-hearted trip down memory lane, we offer the following list of news superlatives:

Worst Use of Fruit
Metro cameras caught a Maryland man slipping on a banana peel in August. Then he sued the transit system. The problem? The footage seems to show he actually put the peel there himself. A judge threw the case out, and now the man faces fraud charges. Better to compost.

1. Best Excuse for Delays
Metro riders usually blame track work for being late, but the delivery of a baby made for a much cuter excuse. Shavonnte Taylor, shown with son Amir Mason, gave birth Aug. 1 on the L’Enfant Plaza platform while, ironically, heading to an appointment with her obstetrician.

Most Stomach-Growl-Inducing
Forget all of the trendy new restaurants popping up. What really got people excited was Ben’s Chili Bowl’s surprise September announcement that it plans to expand to Arlington. The half-smoke slingers plan to open early next year.

2. Most Likely to Be Turned Into a Pixar Film
The National Zoo’s giant panda cub, Bao Bao, may have won the most press, but Rusty the red panda, shown, went on the most exciting adventure. The raccoon-like furball escaped his enclosure in June and spent a few hours in Adams Morgan before being found and returned — but not before much of the city tuned in to the chase.

Best Airing of Grievances
D.C. resident Henry Docter earned the nickname “phantom planter” when he planted flowers along the north exit of the Dupont Circle station in June. Then Metro proceed to rip them out. But Docter got his revenge in October by hanging an oversized steel structure that detailed his complaints over the same spot.

3. Biggest Shutdown Surprise
When the government shutdown started affecting the aesthetics of the Mall, Chris Cox, shown, brought a lawn mower and took it upon himself to clean it up while toting a South Carolina state flag.

4. Most Apocalyptic
The sinkholes! The geological anomalies ate a chunk of sidewalk along Biltmore Street in Adams Morgan and endangered cars in May on F Street NW, shown, and June on M Street NW.

Best Use of Animals
No mowers were needed to take care of Southwest D.C.’s Congressional Cemetery this fall — goats did it!


“It’s probably one of the few times in a cab driver’s life that he really feels appreciated.”

— Jerome Greene, a Red Top taxi driver in Arlington since 1972, on SoberRide, a program run by the Washington Regional Alcohol Program that sets up free rides home for those who’ve imbibed too much during the holiday season. Greene said it makes him feel good to know he may be saving people’s lives by keeping them off the roads. The one drawback? “Trying to wake them up after they give you their address,” he said laughing.

SoberRide will run through Jan. 2, and riders can call 1-800-200-8294 (TAXI) to get a free ride home. Don’t forget to tip!

This story appeared in the Sunday edition of the Express. Sign up now for free delivery.