Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Not relaxing just yet!

You would think I've learned by now not to completely relax and believe everything is finally going as planned. Thus my blog's name choice...

Our youngest son, fishing for salmon and school tuition in Alaska, sent a text this weekend. "We (like that pronoun... we?) may have a problem. My wallet went overboard."

I know I didn't have a problem. I was camping at a site next to a peaceful lake, surrounded by mountains and enjoying a campfire with my husband and oldest two children and families.

I stop and ponder for a brief second - was his wallet inside a pocket worn by our son? I wouldn't put it past him to avoid the part of the story where he went the ocean, to keep me from fretting. That wasn't the case. He used his wallet to store a needle necessary to repair fishing nets. The needle came out of the wallet and the wallet didn't get back into the pocket. The net went overboard and the wallet is now property of Davy Jones' locker. Oh goodie.

We will keep an eye on bank accounts since he had a couple of cards inside the wallet, though for now I'm not concerned about that issue. We'll get them cancelled and replaced. We did discuss how he would get on his homeward bound flight and return to school, without proper photo ID.

Easy enough - we should be able to go down to the DMV and get a replacement card sent up to him... (SCREEEEEEEEECH................. the sound of brakes putting a quick halt to that plan.)

We headed to DMV, pulled our number and settled in. 75 minutes later I heard our number called and we carefully rousted our numb backsides from the wooden platform we were using. Armed with his birth certificate and passport we headed to the clerk. As we are explaining she reaches for her phone and calls "downtown". Lots of nodding, 'yes', some eye contact - but no help. We retrieved our documents and were sent "downtown" to the State DMV to speak with Mrs. Boss Lady.

Once again we share our dilemna with the clerk, who apparently is assigned to keep uninformed folks like us from reaching Mrs. Boss Lady. The clerk heads into the back bowels of the DMV to speak with Mrs. Boss Lady in person. I'm sure they were discussing their weekend's events and shared a cup of coffee before returning to tell us - again - no dice.

At this point my husband asks to speak with Mrs. Boss Lady - the waiting game continues. Eventually we are granted a moment of her time. My husband, being the trainer, discusses nonstandard deviation from processes, customer satisfaction (clearly a new concept to DMV), responsibility and leadership. We had documentation but no power of attorney. Our son didn't have access to internet to print their form or a fax machine to send it back to them.

Eventually we received some positive feedback. If we can get our son to call her before 5 pm in the evening last night or by noon today, to verify some information about himself, she will mail him out a new driver's license. We paid the fee and try to be optimistic.

Our next hurdle - Fed Ex vs USPS- the service they wanted to use to send out the driver's license. Our son doesn't have a physical address - unless Fed Ex now uses GPS coordinates. It's a small fishing town. If we want to mail him something it goes to General Delivery. When he is back in port, he walks over to the Post Office and checks for mail. Very small town Mayberry.

Our son got the text we sent with instructions. They are in the middle of a 48 hour run at sea and hopefully he'll get a chance to make the call before noon our time today.

Meanwhile, I have contacted the airlines. I again explained the situation. Wallet in the ocean. No photo ID. It took the agent a couple of times through the story to convince her that yes, that included school ID, military dependent ID and his credit cards but she didn't seemed too concerned about the photo of his mom!

I was assured that if he presented his birth certificate and a truthful statement as to what happened he MIGHT be able to get on the plane if the counter agent and TSA felt it was reasonable. I inquired as to what we might be able to do to guarantee the results. Leaving it up to a TSA agent doesn't give me a warm, fuzzy feeling.

The agent goes on to tell me in addition to his birth certificate, if he had some identification from his employer... not likely as he's on a privately owned fishing boat with a crew of five... or have a coworker with him when he checks in for his flight, it may be beneficial.

Finally - my ah-ha moment. I get it! His mom and dad, with original birth certificate and passport, cannot make arrangements with a local State agency for a replacement driver's license to be sent directly to our son so he can board his flight back to school but a Federal agency will permit our 25 year old nephew (and coworker) to vouch for him! Sheez! Gotta love it!

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