Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Off the Banned Driver List

When I got to the car rental counter, the polite man behind the counter typed in all the information and then blanched.

“Ummm, ” he started off, very embarrassed, “there is a problem . . . . ”

I knew, I just knew what was coming. I had even sent the car rental agency an e-mail asking them to check to make sure everything was straight.

“You’re on our banned driver list.” he finished up.

If it hadn’t happened before – TWICE – I would have been a lot more embarrassed. Now, I am just annoyed.

When I came in here last time, I didn’t know my license had expired. Fortunately, I have another driver’s license, so they let me use that one – it is the license that is banned, not the driver (yeh, go figure). The very next day, I was the first one in line at the driver’s license place and renewed my license in less than five minutes. It’s easy. I just explain that I live in Kuwait and don’t always have access to registration facilities! They understand.

But when I got to California and went to rent again – same problem. Again, they let me drive on my other license.

So third time is the charm. Once again, they give me a car based on the second license (I mean, isn’t that funny in itself; you have this BANNED person and you give her a car because she can show you another license???)

The counter guy gave me a sheet of paper with an intimidating list of the possible reasons I was banned, including expired license, but also things like fleeing the scene of an accident, or felony warrants and things like that. (If you could see me, you would know how dyingly funny this is.) Before I even took the car, I called their security people. It took a total of 30 seconds. I told them I renewed the license, they checked, found out I was not lying and BINGO! I am no longer a BANNED person.

I knew what the problem was, but being BANNED made me feel terrible. It was so unfair. It made me think about labels, and how even though they are just words, words can make you feel really really BAD. I truly hated being a BANNED person.

July 31, 2008 - Posted by | Bureaucracy, Community, Customer Service, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Seattle


  1. Oh my..I’m friendly with a felon on the run. That’s exciting! 😉

    Comment by Я | July 31, 2008 | Reply

  2. Uh oh, you’re visiting me and my husband is a cop! Shhhhhh!

    Comment by momcat | July 31, 2008 | Reply

  3. Я – Oh, stop! Stop! You’re killing me!

    Momcat – I will show him my shiny new license and we will get along just fine! 🙂

    Comment by intlxpatr | July 31, 2008 | Reply

  4. Yeah… labeling people is such a lame thing!

    Comment by Ansam | July 31, 2008 | Reply

  5. I just find it frustrating when you think you’ve worked problems like this out with the company involved (you’ve cleared it up … and took some time to do so) … and then you find out later that the issue is still ongoing! Don’t this companies ever update their databases? Mine is a different story having to due with some kind of billing problem at an area medical facility: someone else’s name but my address and phone number. So at least I’m not BANNED … just harrassed!

    Comment by Brenda | August 1, 2008 | Reply

  6. You are so right, Brenda, you think you have it all worked out . . . you have spent hours working to get it all straight . . . only to find it is still NOT worked out! How frustrating! I am sorry you are harassed, and such a simple thing! How annoying!

    Comment by intlxpatr | August 1, 2008 | Reply

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