About Me

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I am a below knee amputee. More importantly, I am also Mommy to two boys, a very active 10 year old (Robby) and an mischievous toddler (Timmy). I have learned that being a parent with a disability can create some unusual and sometimes humorous situations. This blogger is available for hire! Let's talk and learn how a blog can expand your business.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Going to the DMV? Dress accordingly!

My driver's license expires at the end of this month. I hate going to the DMV but I reasoned that the middle of the month would be the best time to go. Resolved to be productive today, I gathered all of the necessary paperwork and mentally prepared myself for a long wait. I found a pair of shorts and a shirt with minimal stains, and I got dressed. All packed up and with a toddler in tow, I headed to the DMV.

When I arrived at the DMV, I was handed a renewal form to fill out. I answered the questions, pleased with myself that I was actually honest when listing my weight. The last question, do you have a disability, I answered in the affirmative. After all, I have a handicapped placard for my car, so a little cross checking would reveal that I was an amputee. I listed bka under "explanation of disability."

I was pleased that my wait time was not as long as anticipated. I was called to the counter within 10 minutes of my arrival, and I dutifully handed the forms to the clerk. As she was busy clicking on the computer, I was watching Robby busy himself by playing hopscotch on the tile floor. I smiled and thought that I had escaped the DMV stress I have come to expect.

And then it happened. The clerk excused herself and walked into the back room. She returned a few minutes later accompanied by a supervisor who informed me that I was not eligible for an automatic renewal based on my disability. I was told that I would need to return for a driving test at a cost of $50.


The supervisor and another worker explained that my amputation impacts my ability to drive a car. I explained, as calmly as I could, that I have been an amputee for over 5 years and that I have never had an issue with driving. The supervisor questioned my ability to drive a manual transmission car. I countered with the fact that many licensed drivers don't know how to drive a stick shift, and these individuals were permitted to drive. In addition, my car has an automatic transmission.

The supervisor excused himself explaining that he was "going to contact Richmond for clarification." I continued to argue my case with the clerks, and frustrations on both sides were rising. Even the security guard approached the counter to verify that everything was okay. Robby started running between the chairs which were quickly filling with annoyed customers.

After about 45 very long minutes, the supervisor returned and informed me that he was unable to get clarification from Richmond. He told the clerk that it was her call, and he walked away.

At this point, I was thoroughly frazzled and frustrated. Robby was now trying to build a fort with the folding chairs and had a very dirty diaper. I had been arguing my ability to safely drive with a prosthetic for almost an hour, and the line was backing up. I decided to switch gears and be proactive.

I reached across the counter and took a blank renewal form. I filled out the form, in front of the clerk, with all of my information. I checked "no" next to the disability question and handed my signed form to the clerk. I then smiled and asked her to pretend that I was wearing pants.

I walked away frustrated and tired. Robby was cranky and smelly. But, I have a new driver's license in my purse.

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