Dad had always been a law-abiding citizen. He would wave and chat with police officers. One of his closest friends was a former police officer I’ll call Joe. As kids, we would often visit Joe’s family, I’d play with their daughters, the adults would chat.
But now the police became the enemy.
One time he was pulled over while driving to Brainerd. The officer wrote him a warning ticket. On the back of the ticket the officer listed five times in the past year Dad had been pulled over but not ticketed. Perhaps upon seeing him weaving about the road, they were happy he wasn’t drinking, so he was given only verbal warnings. Perhaps they were charmed by his smile, or that little chuckle.
I thought “why do they pull him over and not do something???!!!
The old Dad would not have shown us this ticket. This new Dad did not think of the consequences and showed the ticket to me (possibly to prove the police were out to “ruin his life”.)
Similar to the conversation about the dings on his van he told me, “Everyone gets stopped by the police once in a while!” (I thought, well not five times in one year – nor does everyone charm their way out of tickets like you!”) I of course did not say this to him. That would have been too direct.
As a result, he was ordered to re-take the driver’s test. This is it, I thought, he will never pass the test.
Written Driver’s Test
He went to a large driver’s license testing facility. He tried and tried to take the written test but could not figure out how to work the computer. He was told accommodations could be made for people who are unable to use computers.
Now Dad might have had brain processing issues, but he was still smart enough to figure out how to beat the system. He went to a smaller driver’s bureau where one of the workers gave him the written test verbally. He told me “The ladies were so excited I passed the test, they wanted to
take me out to lunch!”
Seriously – did the whole world want this man who is nearly unable to see at night, and cannot read the driver’s manual, loose on the highways?
A Personal Visit
Terri and I decided to pay a visit to the smaller driver’s bureau. (Good indirect way to address the issue.) We talked to the supervisor “Ralph”. Ralph assured us he would personally give our Dad the driving test, and carefully assess his ability. Satisfied — certain our Dad could not pass the actual driving test — we left the facility.
Guess what? He passed! We visited Ralph again – he said our Dad did just fine. Ralph just had him drive around the local roads. I said “what about driving on the highway?” Ralph reported driving on the highway was not a requirement. (Dad was still driving to the office in Minneapolis which required driving on the highways daily.)
What could we do?
We will pick up on the driving saga later.