Background Check Stupidity

by Berck

My telephone rang Tuesday morning while I was diligently working on memorizing my Emergency Procedure Checklists. HR person from Mesa who told me that “The National Driver Register returned a couple of hits, one for Texas and one for Oklahoma, and you’re going to need to call the states and find out what this is about, and get us letters that it’s been cleared.” I tried to find out what the heck they meant by a “hit” and she told me that it meant there was something like a suspended license or unpaid ticket or something on my license, or that maybe it wasn’t even me. In any case, they would need some sort of letter showing that I was “clear”.

I started with Texas. I spent 35 minutes on hold with the Dept of Public Safety. The nice thing about not having a Texas license is I thought I’d never have to deal with these people again. The last time I had to call them was when I got a letter from them stating that they intended to revoke my license in 45 days if I didn’t pay a ticket I’d gotten in Mississippi. Only, I had paid the ticket– you can imagine how much fun it was to straighten that out. I wondered if this was somehow related. I explained the situation to the woman who answered the phone. She said there was nothing negative, that all she showed was that I’d been licensed in another state. I asked if she could please send me a letter stating that I was “clear,” and she acted like I was crazy. Which, when you think about it, is a stupid request. “Please send me a letter that says there’s nothing wrong with my driver’s license.” She said the best she could do would be to send me a copy of my driver’s record. I figured that would probably be good enough. Only she couldn’t just send it to me, she’d have to send me a form, and I could fill it out. Or I could request it online. In any case, it would take up to 30 days.

I then called Oklahoma, who said pretty much the same thing, and when I asked about a letter, she told me to hang on, then hung up on me. I called back, and explained it to another woman, who said she’d pull my NDR record, the thing that Mesa had a problem with, and see what was on it. She said, “There’s nothing on your NDR at all, it says you’re clear. It has two entries, that say you’re ‘eligible’ from both Oklahoma and Texas.” Eligible apparently is a good thing, not a bad thing. Oklahoma also said they couldn’t send me a letter, but that I could request a copy of my driver’s license.

I wrote an email to the lady at Mesa telling her that Oklahoma said that my NDR has nothing but two clear entries on it, perhaps they misread it? All she said in response is that she would need a letter “from the states showing that you’re clear”. She indicated that the driver’s records would probably work.

I went to the Texas website, which will let you request a copy of your driver’s record online, assuming you can input not just the driver license number, but the “audit” number next to the picture. Since I had to give my Texas driver license to Oklahoma, I didn’t have that, and had to print out a form and mail it to them with a check. I did.

I filled out a similar form for Oklahoma, but noticed in small print that personal check’s wouldn’t be accepted– only money orders. So, I drove to the newly-built Wachovia down the street and asked for a Money order and, while I was there, some cash. I gave the lady my account number. She never asked for any proof of identification, although I’m sure she was probably supposed to– since anyone who ever got a check from me could walk into a bank and ask for cash. But, since I had being asked for my papers, it didn’t really bother me too much. What did bother me is that she was so incredibly slow, and seemed completely unsure of how to create a money order from a counter withdrawal. She eventually succeeded, and I realized when I left, that she didn’t charge me for the money order. It seems unlikely that Wachovia gives out money orders for free to customers, I suspect she simply forgot to charge me.

After all this, I got to thinking a bit about the National Driver Register, and pulled up their website which didn’t give a whole lot of information, but did give me a telephone number which was answered promptly by a human. Who wasn’t very helpful at all, but did tell me how to request my file from them. It involved drafting a letter with all sorts of identifying information and then having the letter notarized. After typing it up and printing it out, I took the letter over to the UPS store, where I was sure the lady at the counter would be a notary. She was, and gladly notarized my letter. And then charged me an obscene $5. I really should have asked how much beforehand, I couldn’t have thought it would be more than $1. What’s worse is that as I paid her I realized that Jonah’s a notary, and I’d completely forgotten. Ahh well.

So, I’m not sure what impact this may or may or may not have on my training. I asked the HR woman if this would hold it up, and she said yes. I don’t know if that means I can’t do CSI/oral/sim, or not. I suspect that I certainly can’t do IOE, since I’ll need a crew badge to fly passengers.

The other annoying thing is that I was planning on jumpseating on Mesa flights quite a bit to see if I could get the hang of anything by watching. It doesn’t look like I’m going to be able to do this before my next phase of training, unless my next phase of training is even later than I thought it would be.

I’ve spent much of today sitting in front of my cockpit posters trying to get through the acceptance inspection. When I have no idea when the next time this information is going to be useful, it’s really hard to get motivated. I hope they give me a week’s notice– with that I’ll be nice and prepared. If they tell me tomorrow to leave the next day, I’m not going to be very well prepared.

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