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Breaking all the Rules at the Secretary of State

It was that time of the year again – time to make the dreaded trip to the Secretary of State. I’ll admit that they are getting better at giving out plates and licenses but it’s always an adventure in frustration. I normally do all I can on the internet, but this year I had to go in; it was time for a new drivers license. It all started with the woman who broke all the rules for standing in line.

I arrived about twenty minutes before the doors open and sat in my car with 4 or 5 other cars nearby. Everyone was waiting – who would go first? Who would go out into the cold and start the line? Today, I valued warmth rather than time, so I was not about to make the first move. I knew that timing would be everything. The first woman lined up at 15 minutes before the hour which motivated 3 more. Nope – I wasn’t going until five til so I held out for ten more minutes. As I was waiting, the woman who broke the rules went up to the door. In a normal line situation, every new person takes their place at the end of the line, but she went right to the front and made everyone uncomfortable. Was she starting a second line? Did she not know the rules? Was she trying to take the first spot? The real first in line person looked uncomfortable. I did not say a thing, I got in line at the precise moment before the tipping point – I was number 7.

The Secretary of State is always an adventure – you see all kinds. Little old laddies who do not use their canes and are hoping against the odds to see well enough to drive for a few more years – son in tow carrying her coat. 16 year old boys with their dad trying to contain the exuberance of ultimate freedom – a license to drive. Then there was the couple behind me who were making plans as to how to answer the question “Is this vehicle is being sold to you by a relative or a stranger?” Did you know that if a relative sells you a car there are no taxes – Oh what tangled webs we weave. . .

There was an octogenarian couple who caught my eye. A sweet old couple – canes in hand and clearly not in tune with what they needed to do. They walked at a snails pace, spoke loudly to each other, a bundle of papers in her hand. It was an extraordinary moment when they got to the process counter. Behind them were 10 or more impatient victims, but in front of them – Debbie. Thank God for Debbie. At first, I could see it in her eyes (It was as if she was saying, “Oh no, not already this morning!”) and I watched her sigh as she tried to ask questions. I thought for sure that she would deal with them in frustrated tones and short staccato sentences, but she very quickly saw their need and saw that kindness and patience was the way to go. She gently walked them through the process and it was determined that they only needed a new tag. Debbie then broke all the rules of the line. She overrode the entire Secretary of State take a number and sit down and wait system. She took their money and told them to go ahead and start walking toward the exit. She quickly went to the second counter (where the real transactions take place) got a tag, payed the fee and met them at the exit. I thought she was done with her extraordinary kindness, but she took it a step further – she asked them what kind of car they had and went out in the rain/snow and put the sticker on their plate.

I sat stunned that such an event took place at the MI Secretary of State. She broke all the rules. Way to go Debbie – keep up the good work. Later on that morning I kicked myself for not asking her if she is a follower of Jesus – If she is, then her life showed it. Do me a favor. If you go to the Secretary of State on Saginaw Highway in Lansing MI, and if you see a middle aged woman named Debbie at the first processing desk, tell her that a guy from Grand Ledge wants to know if she’s a follower of Jesus, and then let me know what she says.

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  1. November 26, 2007 at 7:10 am

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