42-year-old Tammy Lemasters finally saved enough money to take her three teenage children on the vacation of their dreams – Disney World. But her plans would all come crashing down after a clerical mistake began to slowly ruin her life.
Because Lemasters recently moved to Clermont, Florida, she needed to get a new license. But she did not notice anything wrong with it until she showed up to traffic court a few weeks later. The judge and the bailiff frowned at her like she was the devil.
Then she saw it. In the bottom corner of her license, the DMV printed the words, “Sexual Predator”. And it was all a “simple” mistake a clerk at Florida’s Department of Highway and Motor Vehicles made. Now that she knew what Florida had done to her, Lemasters was furious. And she hired a lawyer…
“She wanted to be an organ donor, and she came out a sexual predator,” attorney John Phillips said. “[Lemasters] started noticing people were treating her the wrong way. A hotel wouldn’t let her stay. She went to Disney World, the ‘Happiest Place on Earth’, and they said, ‘We can’t let you in the park.’”
The simple mistake the thoughtless DMV clerk made was ruining this mother of three’s life. And she threatened to sue unless the DMV fixed her problem and took steps to make sure this would never happen to another innocent victim.
“It’s so embarrassing and shouldn’t be something that should have happened,” the mother said. “They need to change.”
Phillips said no lawsuit will be filed if the Florida DMV changes their horrible system.
“This isn’t about money at all. It’s about preventing it from happening to others,” Phillips said.
Mark O’Keefe, the manager of the drivers license office where the horrible error occurred, has listened to Lemasters’s plea. He now urges all of his employees to tell customers to review their licenses themselves before they take them home.
O’Keefe said he will institute new training to ensure his workers know how to operate the computer software and make licenses without printing the words “Sexual Predator” onto more innocent mother’s forms of identification.
“We’re just humans doing a human job, and we can make human mistakes,” O’Keefe said.
But labeling someone a “sexual predator” is a very bad mistake. And if the wrong person saw it (like someone who had a vendetta against such a criminal), the mistake could threaten someone’s life. What if someone assaulted Lemasters because of what her license said?
The Florida DMV issued Lemasters an apology and a new license – without the evil brand.
But Phillips’s work is not done. Since Lemasters went public about the mistake, three more victims who had the words “Sexual Predator” mistakenly printed on their Florida licenses approached the lawyer. It looks like Florida has a lot of work to do to fix this heinous problem.
As one reader put, “Unbelievable. That can ruin a person’ reputation for life.”
Should Florida take this issue seriously and make the change now?
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