LAUREL, Md. (AP) _ Sasa Nikolic says he got taken for a ride by an unscrupulous New York cabbie.

Now he's riding the nation's highways and by-ways for free.

The 24-year-old tourist from the Netherlands found himself practically broke earlier this month after he paid the driver $272 for an eight-hour sightseeing tour of New York - and $472 the next day to take him to Washington.

Nikolic said the cabbie, whom he couldn't identify, told him cab and bus fare to Washington were about the same, but a cab was faster. The truth is, bus fare would have been $25.95.

The cabbie dropped him off at a Laurel hotel, outside Washington, on the third day of was supposed to be a month-long trip.

There, Nikolic met A.B. Miller, who lives near the hotel, heard Nikolic's story and started calling TV stations and newspapers. Offers of help for the picture-frame maker began pouring in.

He has received free airfare to California and Florida, VIP tours of Florida theme parks, more than $300 in cash, free hotel rooms and - no more cabbies 3/8 - complimentary limousine rides wherever he goes.

Nikolic has been invited to a party held by Hulk Hogan and is scheduled to meet Michael Jordan at a minor league baseball game Tuesday.

''You bet I'm overwhelmed,'' said Nikolic, who now has a traveling companion - Miller. The two flew to Florida July 15.

Nikolic said he and cabbie did not discuss a specific fare. By law, New York cabdrivers can charge either a fare negotiated in advance or a rate of $2.50 per mile. At that rate, the 237-mile trip should have cost $592.50.