Division of Motor Vehicles

A Day at the DMV

So, my Mom walks into a DMV…

She’s having a total knee replacement in two weeks and one bullet point on the pre-op checklist is to ‘obtain a temporary handicapped parking permit’ for her car.  The DMV in Woodstock is nothing like the big city, in that the lines are never long, often with no wait at all.  And on this cold January afternoon, there were only a handful of customers waiting their turn.

After filling out a few forms and presenting the proper paperwork, the clerk presented Mom with the grand total.

“That will be $5.00 please.”

Now, Mom has a debit card, somewhere, but she begins digging through her wallet and purse, confident that she has $5.00 in cash.  “It’d be silly to use a card for that amount”, being the logic behind the search.  My Mom’s frugal.  She knows that she is.  Her non-frugal sister knows that she is.  She’s got an immediate-family reputation as being frugal.  In the dictionary, under frugal, would have been her picture, but the cost of gasoline spent on the way to the portrait studio would’ve been a waste.  She’s my source of frugal genes.  She can barter for twenty minutes and talk a telephone customer representative out of a shipping charge.  I can talk a nun out of her habit (ba-dum-bum).

But she’s also the nicest person in the world.  Some try, but she literally does something nice for someone on every single day of her life. A Netflix marathon may appear as a waste of time to some, until you see the prayer shawl in her lap that’s she’s knitting for a church member forever housed at a local nursing home.

The search for $5.00 was still coming up short.

“I’ve got a dollar.”

Then, like pennies from heaven, a $5.00 bill falls from her right shoulder and lands on the counter in front of her.

Beyond bewildered, she looks down at the $5.00, looks up at the clerk, and then looks over her shoulder, just in time to see a man re-taking his seat next to his wife, as the two were sharing a big smile.

“Wha..You didn’t have to do that.  Could you leave me an address so that I can repay you?

The gentleman politely refused giving his address and simply replied…

“Nah, you just share that along.”

Just when you thought that every bad thing that you read was the Gospel, along comes a sign that there’s still good in the world.  And maybe that “What goes around, comes around” just might be true.  That couple was smiling after they had made someone smile.  What a concept.  Who’d have thunk it.

Oh, WAIT!

It’s the first weekend after Groundhog Day, which means it’s Double DMV Story Weekend!

Several years ago, my Mom moved back to Virginia from South Carolina.  Being the good alter boy that I am, I drove her to the Woodstock DMV so that she could transfer her car’s registration, plates, and her driver’s license.  As is sometimes the case in the Woodstock DMV, we were the only customers and there was only one visible employee.

In all of the Virginia DMV’s at which I’ve done business, the cattle stall procedure is the same.  You go up to the first window, announce the intentions of your visit, receive a clipboard from the young lady with the appropriate forms, and the automated system provides you with a slip of paper, printed with a letter and a number used in a secret categorizing system that only that lady behind the counter understands.

I stuck the slip of paper into my jacket pocket.  Our number was A-38.

Mom took her choice of empty seats, front and center, and began to fill-out the required paperwork.  I was having a strong urge to do an imitation of a RACE HORSE! and excused myself to the Men’s Room.  After zipping up my saddle, I moved to the sink to give the hands a wash.  Unnoticed by me, above the hand sink, was mounted a speaker.  As I began to dry my hands with a paper towel, an automated, electronic, female voice made an announcement through the speaker.

“Now–Serving…A–38”

I opened the door and looked to Mom.  All polite, prime and proper, Mom looked up to me (to see if that was our number?).  The clerk never looked up from her computer screen, perhaps catching up on things after the morning rush.  Mom and I made an unspoken decision to approach the counter.

The clerk sat up straight and said “Hi!  How may I help you?”

After a quick glance at that first cubbyhole, four-feet to our left and a little look over the shoulder at the empty seats, our intentions were repeated and documents provided.

To this day, we silly-laugh about the alternate consequences of our response to the speaker’s announcement.  The two of us just sitting there, looking confused, pretending that wasn’t our number that had been called, looking about to see if any of the empty chairs were responding.  Would the electronic lady have skipped to A-39 out of desperation?  Would the human lady have left us sitting there on her way to lunch?

Just another day, in small-town USA.

You can share this story, but more importantly, share an unexpected good deed with someone, today and every day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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