DEAR ABBY: I started reading your column when I was 8. (I am now 38.) From time to time you print stories about how couples met, and I would like to share mine.




I have severe asthma, and in January 2001, I was out sick from work for three days. While I was home, I started talking to John over the Internet. At the time, he lived in Massachusetts, and I lived in Washington state.




After an hour or so, he convinced me to seek medical help. I was taken to the hospital and don't remember much after I got there. Three days later, I woke up with a tube down my throat. My doctor told me if I hadn't come in when I did, I would have died, and my children would have been left motherless!




I was released a few days later, and when I returned home, I found e-mails from John leaving me his work number, home number and pager number. I called him and told him he had saved my life from 3,000 miles away.




In June 2001, I flew back East and we drove back to Washington state together. We were married in July 2002 and renewed our wedding vows last Valentine's Day. We have a 3-year-old son, and not a day goes by that I am not thankful for my husband, who was an emergency medical technician. He says he was "just doing his job." He is now an EMT-Intermediate, and I am now taking a basic EMT class myself.




I tell John every day that I fall more and more in love with him. We always talk over our disagreements and never go to bed angry at each other.




Please print this so others may see that the Internet is not a bad place to meet and fall in love.




"" ALIVE AND IN LOVE IN WASHINGTON STATE




DEAR ALIVE AND IN LOVE: The day you met John was your lucky day in more ways than one. I'm pleased to print your testimonial &

with one stipulation.




Meeting someone online is no different from meeting someone in any public place. I know several happy couples who met via the Internet, but I also know people who have tried it and struck out. When meeting on the Internet, it's important to take it slow, have your first in-person encounters in public places, and remember that there's always a chance that not everything you read online is the gospel truth.




I'm pleased your story has a happy ending. It should only be that way for everyone.




DEAR ABBY: I took my 4-year-old son to a park to play recently. He immediately ran over to the playground where another boy around 8 or 9 was playing. Suddenly my son ran back to me and said, "Mommy, that boy said he's going to kick my butt!"




A little startled, I got up, intending to say something to the boy, when I noticed that he had Down syndrome. Not only did I not know what to say to my son, I wasn't sure if I should speak to the boy or his mother, who was sitting on a nearby park bench. (She was unaware of what her son had said.)




How should I have handled this?




"" MUDDLED MOMMY IN MIAMI




DEAR MUDDLED MOMMY: If your son had said what that boy did to a much smaller child, wouldn't you have wanted to be informed in a nonconfrontational way? You should have handled the situation by approaching the mother and saying, "I thought you should know that your son frightened my little boy by threatening to harm him." If she's an effective parent, it would be her cue to take her son in hand and explain to him that his behavior was inappropriate.




TO MY JEWISH READERS: Yom Kippur begins at sundown &

a time for reflection, prayer and repentance. May your fast be an easy one.




Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.