Tuesday, June 14, 2016

The Feds for the Win

To say I’m no fan of government is an understatement. Huge understatement. Massive. But two weeks ago, our federal government came through for me in a big way and I must give credit where it’s due.

Last week I put Rebecca on a plane, waved goodbye and tried really hard not to be jealous that she was going to Paris with my mom and my sister’s family. But a funny thing happened on the way: her passport vanished. And no one realized it until she was at the gate, trying to check in for the international flight.

At the top of the Eiffel Tower
My sister called to tell me the news. And as soon as we hung up, I placed a phone call to Senator Gary Peters’ office. I started with the Lansing office, but the kind gentleman there directed me to the Detroit office, where they handle passport issues. I was immediately connected with Michael Tash, a Constituent Service Representative who helps people with issues related to federal agencies. Since my issue was with the Department of State, Mr. Tash was my guy.

I had no sooner told him my issue than he took my number and said, “I’ll get right on it and call you back.”

My cynical self thought, “Well, that’s the last I’ll hear of him.” I had barely finished the thought than my phone rang. Mr. Tash needed more information from me, which I gave him and he was off to the races again.

Long story short: my sister and her family flew on while my mom and Rebecca stayed in Atlanta. I flew down to Atlanta to go to the passport agency with them the following day since a parent of a minor must be preset to obtain a passport.* (Thank you, Dad, for flying for Delta which made my last-minute trip possible!) But I was not going to the office alone; Mr. Tash was a presence with me. He had called ahead, made an appointment for us, and because of his intervention, instead of waiting hours in line and then hours more for the passport, we waited 90 minutes total and had the passport in hand in time for Rebecca and Mom to catch the flight to France. They were only delayed by 24 hours.

In those 24 hours, Mr. Tash worked miracles. I don’t know how he did what he did but it is because of his hard work on our behalf that Rebecca was able to only miss one day of her European adventure.

Thank you, thank you, thank you, Mr. Tash. You made a difficult situation so much easier than it rightfully should have been.
Rebecca in front of the statue of Marquis de Lafayette. Man, can that guy rap...

*Thanks also to our Congressman John Moolenaar. While I was calling Senator Peters’ office, my sister was on the phone with Moolennar’s people, who were trying to make it possible for me not to have to fly to Atlanta. It became obvious that my presence would make things easier, so we did not end up needing the help they were offering, but they were more than willing to offer assistance. They even called the next day to make sure things had gotten worked out. Republicans and Democrats working hard for their constituents. Imagine that.