A Positive Bureaucratic Experience: A True Story

by Rebecca Einstein Schorr on 13 January 2016 @ 10:59 am

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No one likes going to the DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles)…or the DOT (Department of Transportation), as it is called here. Even the most basic task becomes onerous when faced with a lengthy wait while crammed into narrow rows of uncomfortable chairs.

Now imagine that you have autism. And sensory issues.

Ben is fifteen. At some point, God-willing, he will get a driver’s license. Perhaps. In the meantime, we want him to have an ID card. Because…God-forbid. He should just always have identification on him.

Which is how we ended up at PennDot.

In order to expedite the process, we arrived with all of the appropriate documentation, filled-in application, and checkbook in hand. (You would not believe how many folks we observed who had not a clue what they needed to have with them.)

We took our seats. Not to close to other people because of Ben’s sensory stuff. Which is not so easy to ensure given the packed house. And we waited. And waited. And waited.

I could have said something when we first checked in. That my son has autism and would it be possible for us to be taken right away. And sometimes we do that. It’s a case-by-case decision. Ben was in good spirits and, despite his anxiety, was managing pretty well. I try, whenever possible, to give him the opportunity to experience “normal” life.

Nearly two hours later, it was our turn. We approached the counter and it was at that point that Ben realized that we would have to wait for the second part of the process. Which is when I realized that Ben had had enough “normal” for the time being. I explained the situation to the very nice employee, Mrs. Snyder, who said that she would see what she could do.

Not five minutes later, Ben was having his picture taken by another wonderful employee (whose name I did not catch) but was so great with him that Ben asked me if she’d had special training to work with people like him.

I heard some grumbling from some folks in the seats who obviously were disgruntled that we’d been taken so rapidly. After hearing why they processed us ahead of them, however, the responses were totally positive.

It felt like a winner of a day. Truly. Because so many of the days are hard with and for Ben. But on this day, Ben experienced some kindness in the world. And from a place not typically known for such customer service. For that, I am thankful.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Stephen Einstein 13 January 2016 @ 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm

A good day!

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2 Rona Elias 13 January 2016 @ 1:30 pm at 1:30 pm

It is somewhat bittersweet that Ben had to ask the question if someone e had training with working with Autism. I sometimes wonder what kind of training many people get or do not get in just dealing with the public. There are many people that walk around with all kinds of “invisible wounds” where a smile, a little respect and patience would go a long way!

Tell Ben that he can drive me around and I won’t be a back seat driver however, I don’t know about his Bubbe. 🙂

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3 Nina 17 January 2016 @ 10:52 am at 10:52 am

Gives one hope for mankind, doesn’t it?

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