Paying it Forward at the DMV

This is exactly what the guy at the DMV looked like. Cross my heart.

Sometimes it pays to be pregnant. Like when people at the DMV take pity on you, just because you’re sitting in a metal seat with your stomach practically touching the chair in front of you.

Never mind that I had no kids with me and that the woman with four kids probably deserved special treatment more than me. Then again, why would you bring four kids to the DMV??? But it does seem interesting that people in general are more willing to help a pregnant women sitting by herself doing a crossword puzzle than a mom trying to keep four kids from destroying a public agency.

Actually, the first hour at the DMV was relatively pleasant. With no children to look after, it was practically a vacation. I read two newspapers, did a crossword puzzle, checked my email on my Crackberry. But by hour two, I was getting restless. They had called number 75; I was 85. Ten people in front of you at the DMV is like the last two minutes of an NBA championship game – it can last forever. There are those damn, responsible people who had the forethought to think ahead and make an appointment, hogging up one of the two or three ladies working behind the desk. And then there are those pesky teenagers who insist on getting their driver’s license and take away one of the few DMV employees to give them an exam. (We won’t talk about how I showed up late to my drivers exam on my 16th birthday and was forced to wait two weeks to take it again – complete torture for a 16-year-old – or the time I got caught cheating on my permit test. It was totally someone else’s fault. I swear.)

So there I was, on hour two, getting impatient and, I have to admit, uncomfortable with Baby Breakdancer kicking me in the ribs, when all of a sudden a bearded angle dressed as a town employee appeared at my side. He bent down and whispered something. At first I thought he was trying to steal my purse, but then I heard these magic words slip out of his mouth: “You dropped something.” And with that, he handed me his golden ticket – #77! I looked up at the sign – they were on 76! I had been chosen! I whispered back a quick thank you. It was like I had gotten out of jail early on good behavior.

As I stood up triumphantly when they called my new number, I quickly glanced around the DMV waiting room – who should I pick to be the lucky beneficiary of #85? The pimply teenager waiting with his mom to take his driver’s test? Nah. The loud, tattooed couple behind me who complained the whole time? Yeah right. Or the guy who carried on a loud conversation on his cell phone for one hour? Not a chance. My eyes settled on an old man who was missing a few teeth and looked like he could be homeless. He seemed deserving. When I finished up, I handed him my ticket. “This should help speed things along,” I said. He gave me a big, toothless grin. “I was number 08,” he said. I had bumped him up by 23.

I smiled on the way out the door. Charity doesn’t always have to be giving someone a dollar or a can of food. It can be as simple as saving someone an hour at the DMV.


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