National Security (TSA) At It’s Best!


04/15/10

A couple of weeks ago, I had my birthday.  I didn’t realize until maybe a week later when a bank teller told me that my Driver’s License had expired that I needed to apply for a new one.  I told him I thought it was good until next year, but that I would go over to the Secretary of State office when I left there so I could renew it.  Not only did I need the License renewed for driving purposes but I was about to go visit a relative, in Tennessee and I needed the License for ID at the Airport.  Now, I had made my reservations quite some time before and didn’t want to be stopped going through Security at the airport and not be allowed to board the plane just because my License had expired.  We just had a terrorist arrested at Christmas time at Detroit Metro Airport so I new they would be extra alert while passengers went thru Security and I didn’t want to be stopped and go through a pat down and what ever else they do to you.

I went home first picked up a bill that had been mailed to me to prove I lived where I said I lived, and that along with my expired License (with my picture on it) and my new Michigan Voters Registration card and my Original Birth Certificate I thought should be enough ID to prove who I was, and then I drove to the Secretary of States office. 

 The main Secretary of State office was closed due to the fact that all their computers were down, and so they sent us to another office.  When I arrived at the second office, there were lots of people in line but I decided to stay.  There was a woman going around one by one to each person in line trying to help speed things up by asking them what they needed and making sure they had all the documents needed to have their request processed.  When she came to me she asked if I had another piece of ID with a picture on it.  I said, “No”.   She then told me that my expired License, Voters Registration and copy of a Bill sent to my address was not enough and that I needed another piece of ID, like a Bank statement.  I showed her my checkbook and my Debit card but she said, that I needed the actual Bank Statement. 

So, I remembered that on the way in I saw a branch of my Bank across the street so I went out, drove my car across the street, it was too busy to walk across, and of course I lost my parking spot right in front of the Social Security office.  It was late and I wanted to get my Drivers License, and so I had to hurry. 

The girl at the bank, a Loan officer was standing there in the Lobby talking to other employees (the bank wasn’t busy) and asked me if she could help me as soon as I walked in.  I told her what I needed and she said it would be no problem; she just needed my Drivers License for identification purposes.  So, I explained that it was an out-of-state License that had expired, and that I was trying to get it replaced across the street at the Secretary of State office.  It seemed to be enough ID for her.  She did ask the maiden name of my mother to be sure though.  She made me a copy of my statement and I was on my way back to the Secretary of State office.

When I arrived back at the Secretary of State office, the woman who had been checking everyone’s ID earlier yelled out that this Big guy with the black leather jacket on, was the last person they could take care of today because they were ready to close.  Now, he was standing right in front of me. After all the running around I did, I was not going to be turned away, so when a woman being waited on right next to where I was standing in line was finished and walked away, I quickly went up to the girl behind the counter and told her, pointing across the room to the lady who sent me out for my bank statement, that I had already been waiting there and should actually be ahead of everyone in line. 

She of course went over to the woman and asked her if she had sent me to get my Bank Statement, and the lady took one look at me and said “yes” and told her to wait on me.

So, I took out my out-of-state Drivers License, my Bank Statement, my Phone bill, my Voters Registration and my Original Birth Certificate, which was quite battered after all these years.  The girl looked over everything, then picked up my Birth Certificate and very seriously looked at me and said, “This is not the Original Birth Certificate, this is a Souvenir”.  I looked at her and said, “This is my Original Birth Certificate, as you can see it’s quite old, actually as old as I am.  It’s the one the hospital in Detroit, gave my mother when I was born”.  She laughed and said, “This is a Souvenir”.  At this point, I was getting a little peeved.  I told her, “If anything is a Souvenir, I am, and this is an Original Birth Certificate”.  I continued, “It states the hospital I was born in, the city, Detroit, both parents names, the Doctors name, and it has my baby foot prints on it, and this is definitely the Original Birth Certificate, issued on the day I was born.  I have used this my entire life as my Birth Certificate, for everything I have ever needed”.  She said, ”We can’t except it, it’s really just a Souvenir.  Would you like to speak to the office manager”?   I said, “Yes”. 

He and I went through the same routine that she and I went through.  He said, “Since 911, all Birth Certificates needed to have a special number on them and mine did not have one”.  I told him, that no one has ever questioned the fact that this was not an Original, and then I told him that Obama’s did not have the name of his Doctor, the Hospital, nor did it have his baby foot prints on it, which to me would be more authentic than a State Seal that anyone could get their hands on and stamp the Seal imprint on a Birth Certificate.  Well, there was no use arguing with them, it was apparent that they had no common sense nor could they possibly “think” for themselves.  So I picked up my documents and asked where I could get a Birth Certificate.  I asked if I could still get one in downtown Detroit, and she said no, that I would have to write to Lansing and get it.  I asked how long that would take and she said about 3 weeks.  I’m thinking, how is Lansing going to know if I’m whom I say I am if I’m sending in a request in the mail?  So, on the way out the door I’m thinking, now how am I going to get through Security at Detroit Metro Airport?

I called the airlines when I got home that afternoon and told them that I had an expired License and didn’t have enough time to get a new one.  The girl assured me that it would be no problem, that all I needed to do was bring more ID with me, like my Voters Registration Card, Charge card, a Bill mailed to my home, and my Birth Certificate (they would take the Original copy I had).  She said people often have expired Licenses and that Security may take a little extra time with me but I would be allowed to fly.

Well, I did what she said, and would you believe after all my worrying, the Security at the Airport didn’t even look at the expired date on my License and passed me right through.  I of course, was pleased, but then got to thinking, no wonder these terrorists get on the planes.    The story doesn’t end here.

On my way home from Tennessee, Security at the Nashville Airport caught the expired License and asked me if I had any other ID with my picture on it.  I said, “No”.  The lady then asked if I had any other ID, I showed her my phone Bill, but that had my Michigan address on it, and my License had my out-of-state address on it.  So, I showed her my Michigan Voters Registration card and she said, “That isn’t signed”.  I said “I can sign it right now”.  She said, “Do you have any other ID, like an ATM card”?  Now, at this point this all became a sort of game to me, and I was holding back showing her my Original (Souvenir) Birth Certificate, and instead showed her the ATM card she asked to see.  Though it has my name on it, it doesn’t have a picture of me, nor my address, so I didn’t see the point.  She said, “Okay, you can go through”.  Now, I have to tell you, that this ATM card was drawn on a bank that over 4 years ago was bought out by another very large bank.  I liked my ATM card and the bank allowed me to continue using it, though they did issue me a new card with their bank name on it (I had that one with me too, but showed her the old one). 

So, bottom-line, the TSA, Airport Security in Nashville let me onto the plane by okaying my expired Drivers License, a Voters Registration card that wasn’t signed and an ATM card drawn on a bank that hasn’t existed for over 4 years. 

Now, I ask you, does it really make sense that no one wanted to accept my Original Birth Certificate which was the real deal,  proved I was an American citizen,  in addition to being a document that I have used for 50 years, without a problem?    Duh!

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2 Comments on “National Security (TSA) At It’s Best!”

  1. snappysandy Says:

    04/17/10

    Thanks for the comment Ms. Jacobsen. You gave us a little more insight into the banking industry and the rules that apply there.

    You are right, about the rules they should be applied properly and consistently. It’s too bad Airport security, even after a potential terrorist disaster in December on a plane that landed at Detroit Metro Airport, does not seem to be trained as well as one would expect. And as far as Nashville goes, well, all I can say is, though this security person took the initiative to use some common sense by making a personal decision, it’s too bad that she was not trained enough to have the qualified common sense to do that. Bottom-line (I love that word) the real blame here lies with the woman that waited on me at the Secretary of State office in Michigan. She could have used the common sense God gave her, and in her case it wasn’t much, and taken my Original Birth Certificate, which though frayed from use for the last 50 years, and instead of calling it a Souvenir, issued me a Drivers License. See, things always come full circle. ss

  2. Judy Jacobsen Says:

    I hear what you are saying……….after just retiring from a major bank a couple years ago I can tell you the pressure was on bank employees after 911 to get proper ID when opening accounts. That meant “NO” expired Drivers License..EVER! No exceptions! Bank audits which are done periodically at banking centers checked for expiration dates of DL’s which had to be noted on each account holders signature card. If a Bank employee didn’t receive the proper current ID when they opened a new account or made account changes they were subject to further action up to and including termination. It is true that these government security requirements should be clear and consistant or what’s the point?


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