The good(ish) news is that GirlWonder is learning to drive! This is probably just a defense mechanism since we keep leaving her places. You forget a kid a few times in the space of a week and suddenly they want their own wheels.
The bad news: I appear to have made a mortal enemy out of a national organization and I wasn’t even trying!
Being responsible parents, we enrolled GirlWonder in driving school. She dutifully passed all classroom instruction, then waited to be called for her legally required in-car training. The law no longer allows your parents to drive you around for training. You now have to pay a professional to gasp and slam on the imaginary brake.
The call to schedule her driving would finally come weeks later. I swear we had almost forgotten she had taken the class. That call rather tersely informed us that they were short on instructors. It would be weeks until they could get to her, and that when they did, her only available driving times were Sundays during church and an entire holiday weekend.
I asked if we could be flexible and was informed that if I didn’t accept the Sunday mornings and holidays, my daughter could wait “until July.” It was April when they said this.
I chalked it all up to her bad mood and a misunderstanding on my part. Surely there was some flexibility in driving schedules?
I waited 10 days for a return call only to be told they were having staffing issues. Various levels of management would repeat the “not enough employees to handle the load” story to me. Oddly they never lack someone to process the payments.
Being me, I shared our experience with the telephone and staffing issues with a few thousand friends on Facebook. Others began to chime in with their own negative experiences. There is comfort in masses. Just knowing I wasn’t crazy, at least in this instance, did take the sting out of things. We moved on.
Then I neglected to return their telephone call within 24 hours and all heck broke loose. I missed a call from my not-so-friendly driving school scheduler. I failed to see that she had called and certainly failed to see that my returning her call was required.
Just under the wire of 24 hours later she called again and left me a very terse voicemail demanding that I return her call. I’ll be completely honest. I did not entirely like her tone. So I did what any reasonably annoyed person would. I called her.
In retrospect this was a bad idea. I was making poor choices, kids. Don’t try this at home. The entire conversation went something like “annoyed, annoyed” and “more annoyed chatter” because I didn’t return her telephone call from yesterday.
Then, I kid you not, she yelled at me, and then hung up. I stared, dumbfounded, at the phone while Mr. Wonderful, witnessing the whole thing, said, “That did not just happen.” I imagine the look on my face was incredulous — and priceless. Who acts like this?
I never intended to write about this. If I had, I would have started weeks earlier. I figured this was between me and some stressed out driving school employee (I feel ya sister! Kids right?). So I did what frustrated modern folk do. I shared the story on Facebook. Not a big deal. Just a measly 100 words or so chronicling our experience.
This quickly garnered more than 100 likes and more negative experiences shared by others in the first hour. A half hour after that I received a notice addressed personally to me to inform me that Facebook had removed my post for “Violating Community Standards.”
I used no profanity. No names. No nudity. Apparently the only “community standard” my post violated was the one that said thou shalt not speak ill of a major advertiser.
More chilling, my entire profile was scrubbed of any mention of the driving school including the conversation from weeks earlier. One friend, a fellow journalist, said it best when he posted “this is cow manure.” He worded it differently, but I’m a little gun shy now. I don’t want this essay removed for violating any community standards.
Apparently, if you speak ill of a certain driving school online or in print, they can’t provide the services you paid for, but they will move swiftly to be sure that any mention of your displeasure is immediately erased. This is not OK.
I feel like I should be the bigger person here, practice forgiveness and not name any names. Let’s just say that if I should have a breakdown while taking the high road, this is not an organization I will call for help.
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