By Christina VanGinkel
With one week to go before my son flies to Texas to visit his Uncle and Aunt over spring break, I told him to sit down and go over his list that he started a few days ago, of things that he will need to pack. I told him to sit down, read the list, and consider if there is anything else that he can think of that he might need, and to check off any items that we needed to pick up and already have, so we can see what is left for us to shop for or do.
One of the items that we had acquired, and that had been on the top of the list importance wise, was a picture I.D. While not required for a minor flying within the continental United States, we personally felt that it was important for him to have, as he would be flying unattended by a family member or friend, under the care of the airline. When my brother first mentioned that, he thought it would be a good idea for our son to have one, I was at a loss as to where to even acquire one. Our local school system had did away with picture I.D. cards some time ago, switching instead to a thumbprint scan for access to lunches and such. In the end, I called up our local police station to see if they knew where we could get him one. The answer was simple, yet one that for some reason I never even thought of, the Department of Motor Vehicles!
Living where we do, the Department of Motor Vehicles only comes to town once every two months, and they would be coming just the week after I phoned! Talk about good timing. Of course, I could have driven him to one of several other locations around the state, some as close as about an hour away, but that the day they came to town was before he needed to actually have the card was perfect.
We arrived the morning of, knowing the hours were from nine thirty in the morning until three o’clock in the afternoon. To say that the line was long was an understatement to the extreme. It winded out of the door of the room they used at City Hall, across the entrance hall, up to the door of the city offices, and back down the hall past the police office. We decided to run up town and do a few errands, and come back when, I hoped, the line was not quite as long. We arrived back at about twelve thirty, and the line was much shorter. It took us all of about fifteen minutes to be waited on, and in not much longer than that, we were on our way home with him clutching his shiny new picture I.D.
What surprised me the most, was when we approached the counter, the gentleman behind the counter not only did not bat an eye when we asked if we could get one, but went on to say that in the last year or so, more and more parents were bringing in their younger children just for such an I.D. He went on to say that not too long ago, that if he filled one request a month for such an I.D. that was a lot. The day my son got his, he was probably about the tenth one that vary day.
If you have a child flying unaccompanied, or even if they are flying with someone, I would recommend that they have a picture I.D., even if, as in my son’s circumstances, one is not required. Consider the simple fact that it could either potentially make things much easier in the event you and your child become separated accidentally, at the airport or even elsewhere while traveling, or for proper identification for the individual picking your child up on the other end of the flight.
As to my son’s list, he at first balked at the idea that a list was something he needed, after all, he is thirteen and capable of knowing what he needs to bring along. Not long after he started the list though, I saw him adding some things to it. When I asked him what he was writing, he replied that once he did make the list, he started to think of all sorts of things that he had better pack, that he more or less takes for granted., such as his belt. He even said thanks for making him start the list! Who knew?