Ken Beaton: Why is KT thankful?

Ken Beaton

Ken Beaton

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Japan invaded China on July 7, 1937, two years and two months before Hitler invaded Poland on Sept. 1, 1939. KT’s father, George Lentz, was an American citizen working in Washington, D.C., as a translator for the U.S. military because he was fluent in English, Chinese and Japanese. George’s dad was an American and his mom, Ah Ma, was Chinese. Katherine was a Chinese citizen when she married KT’s dad in 1937. Their daughters were born in 1938, 1939 and KT 1940.

These were dangerous times because Japan had been at war with China for three years. The Japanese couldn’t manufacture bullets fast enough to slaughter Chinese soldiers along with Chinese civilians including children. To save their bullets, some Japanese soldiers used their swords to behead Chinese of all ages in front of still picture and motion pictures cameras.

To shorten a long story, Katherine, KT and her two older and a younger sister were captured in Hong Kong by Japanese troops and placed under “house arrest” in their apartment. For almost two years, each was given several crackers a day. They had a hen that laid an egg three or four times a week. Some friends helped them with rations.

After challenging negotiations with the Japanese, Mrs. Lenz with her four children boarded a Swedish transport ship. The ship took six weeks to travel across the Indian Ocean, around the Cape of Good Hope, crossing the Southern Atlantic to view the Statue of Liberty in New York harbor. Mrs. Lenz became an American citizen in 1946. Because Mr. Lenz was an American citizen, his four children were automatically American citizens.

Katherine Lenz was a “Tiger Mom.” The tiger is an important animal in Chinese culture. A Tiger Mom tells you to do something once. Children’s complaints don’t register with a Tiger Mom. Rule 1, a Tiger Mom’s word is final. Rule 2, any questions, see rule 1.

With KT, the apple didn’t fall far from the tree. She was a “Tiger Teacher,” and a Tiger Mom to her two sons. Her students consistently tested excellently in Carson City School District. In one semester with parents’ cooperation her students were at or above grade performance.

Fast forward to Aug. 24, when her husband could no longer drive to the VA in Reno because of a medical condition. KT had to apply for and complete all the requirements to be issued a Nevada driver’s license to meet an Oct. 15 deadline. The adventure began because the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles had never experienced a Tiger Mom who has the ability to ask questions that you don’t want to answer because you’ll appear to be from the low end of the gene pool.

First, she was told she could fill out the “application to renew” and mail it. She sent it with her check to the DMV on Aug. 24. After waiting almost two months, on Oct. 10, KT received a form letter stating, “We did not receive your application. You may still renew your license by mail if you submit your completed application form.” KT wasn’t informed that a passport was needed until she appeared at the DMV asking why her application was rejected Oct. 11.

Second, a person who is not a citizen of the United States can apply for a “Green Card.” A Green Card holder isn’t a United States citizen. A person with a Green Card can apply and obtain a driver’s license to legally drive in any state.

Third, KT doesn’t have a birth certificate because she was born in Hong Kong. Five days after her birth, KT was baptized in a Catholic Church in China. Her baptismal certificate was signed by the priest who baptized her. Her baptismal certificate stated her birth date, Oct. 15, 1940, was “not accepted.”

Fourth, she had to show one utility bill proving she lives at her address. After showing her utility bill, someone at the DMV asked KT if she had a Green Card. KT asked the DMV employee, “Why would I need a Green Card if I’m already a United States citizen?” The DMV employee, who asked KT about the Green Card, didn’t think before she spoke. KT shared her mother’s naturalization certificate, dated 1946 which wasn’t accepted.

Fifth, on Sept. 20, KT made an appointment for Nov. 2, the earliest available. Someone at the DMV in Carson City told KT, “the DMV has ‘Walk In Wednesdays on Nov 1.” The one detail left out was the Reno DMV has “Walk In Wednesdays,” not the Carson City office. If a person doesn’t have a driver’s license, it isn’t easy to travel to and from Reno’s DMV office.

Sixth, the DMV has recognized there’s been a large number of mail-in applications because appointments at the Carson City DMV are six weeks or longer. For some reason, the DMV has decided to do away with mail-in applications in the near future according to a supervisor.

The courts use the “reasonable prudent person rule,” when making a court decision. My question is, wouldn’t a reasonably prudent person understand that canceling mail-in applications would overload the appointment system? With more appointments, wouldn’t that extend the time for appointments with the DMV maybe several months into the future?

I want you to consider this possibility. With considerably longer wait times for an appointment, will the public be happy or upset with that decision? I don’t know about you, but I’m receiving only negative responses. Even if you have an appointment, there’s a wait time.

Unfortunately, there are too many employees in federal, state and local levels along with private companies who do not have a clue about customer service. Too many clients feel somewhere between being ignored to absolute indifference when attempting to resolve a problem with an employee.

If at the onset KT was presented with a list of all the documents, she needed to show the DMV, she would not have had the feeling of her time being wasted, “jumping through so many hoops.” All of KT’s frustration could have been avoided.

KT’s wish is that everyone is aware of what she experienced at the DMV. Remember, if you’re not pleased with the direction of a conversation with an employee, ask this magical question. “I’d like to speak with your supervisor,” usually, attitudes magically improve.

KT shared a happy ending to “her 81-day journey in the dessert.” On Monday, Nov. 13, her letter carrier delivered her Nevada DMV secured Class C driver’s license, persistence pays off!

KT’s wish is that Nevadans without a driver’s license will read this commentary and write a list of all the documents they need to have to complete their driver’s license application. On Nov. 23, we know why KT is thankful!


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