Imagine taking your family on a vacation to a theme park and being detained for hours by security because of a simple mistake on your driver’s license. Well, it happened to one Florida woman, and it was horrible nightmare. Find out how important it is to check and make sure your driver’s license has no errors.
Tammy Lemasters was all ready to enjoy a fun filled holiday with her family at Disney World recently, when she was detained at her hotel by security. Her crime? According to her driver’s license, she was a registered sex offender. They would not permit her to stay at the hotel.
Speaking with the Associated Press, she says “I was afraid to drive in my car. I was afraid of getting pulled over. I was afraid of the kids being in the car.”
The problem with her driver’s license began when she went to the Lake County Tax Collector’s office to renew it. She had asked to be listed as an organ donor. However, due to a clerical error, the wrong box was checked on her application, and instead of including her in a database of registered organ donors, Lemasters was classified as a sexual predator.
Her lawyer, John Phillips, says “It reminds me of the book, ‘The Scarlet Letter. She walked around with that on her license, not knowing where it had been reported. This is completely, completely avoidable by just putting in some sort of default on the computer. That’s just preposterous. I’d be willing to bet it’s happened hundreds of hundreds of times.”
Phillips is now representing Lemasters and three other plaintiffs in a proposed defamation suit against the Lake County Tax Collector’s Office.
Speaking with the Orlando Sentinel, David Jordan of the Lake County Tax Collector’s Office says “We made a mistake. Period. We feel horrible. It totally stinks it happens. Everybody involved feels terrible. We offer our apologies. We offered it immediately.”
Jordan said it was a simple clerical error on the part of a “Top Notch” employee.
When asked how she did not notice the error on her license when she first received it, Lemasters said “They asked me to check my name and address, and that’s what I checked. The sexual-predator box is in the lower corner, and she had her finger there. I just took it and put it in my wallet. No one checks for ‘sexual predator’ on your license.”
Her attorney, John Phillips, says that they are not seeking monetary recompense for the error, and that if the office makes changes to its system that ensure this kind of error does not occur again, they will not file the lawsuit.
Not Surprisingly, Lemasters’ story has generated a lot of commentary online from people who were outraged that something like this could happen to an innocent person.
Michael Donovan Havens called for the state worker to be fired for the mistake, saying “It is called defamation of character and is punishable by law. Look it up. The 3 hour detention goes on her records until a judge determines that it was a mistake. In the meantime she can have her children taken from her and put into foster homes where God only knows what they will be put through. Also some moron reporter can do even more damage to her life. If her neighbors and friends get wind of it, it could ruin her life. ‘I’m sorry’ doesn’t even begin to make amends.”
While his comment was among those in the majority, at least one person responded with some sense of measure. Frank logan commented “That’s a bit harsh for such a small thing. No one was harmed except for a Red Face. Fix it and go on. Perhaps make the clerk take a day without pay, but fire them for ticking off the wrong part of a form. I would be more angry that the tic was so close to the Organ Donor/Sexual Predator part of her license. hahaha. Why is it there and so close? Anyway I don’t agree that the employee should be fired. That woman was embarrassed for sure, but making someone feel embarrassed isn’t so serious that anyone need lose their job.”
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