More of a chronic condition

Tomorrow Joe’s going away with his mum.  They’ve been planning it for a while – off to the US to see the Grand Canyon and visit a relative, and Joe’s mum is psyched. (Joe is too – let’s be honest.)  Her kids – all four of them, travel with her in turns, and this trip has been set in stone for a while.  Since they leave in the morning, today they have to provide Homeland Security with "advance travel information" like your passport number and expiry date, and where you’ll be while you’re in the United States – and Joe being Joe, today was the day that he fetched his passport from his underwear drawer (where all right thinking people keep important documents) and was about to hop on the phone with his mum to give her the information, when he happened to glance at the expiry date of that wee book, and notice, much to his horror,  that it was a date in the past. 

When he recovered himself sufficiently and regained the power of speech, he called the passport office to see if anything could be done, and they said for him to come right down with all his paperwork, and see what could be sorted for him.  They warned him though, that getting a passport renewed on the same day was strictly a mission for "emergencies" and not to get his hopes up.  Passport Canada’s website advised that the 24 hour service (which really wasn’t even fast enough for us) was only available with proof of travel (got it) and that "Passport Canada will take appropriate action on a case-by-case basis."  Not too hopeful, since the last time either Joe or I checked, being a moron wasn’t really an emergency, but more of a chronic thing.

Down we went, and after the requisite wait, we found ourselves in front of a nice lady at the wicket, and Joe launched into his tale of woe.  How his stupid mistake was going to spoil his mum’s vacation, how he’d clearly taken leave of his senses, how upset his mum would be, how he really loved his mum and she was nice,  how, when she found out he hadn’t checked until this morning she was probably going to tell him his was stunned as a bat, and how he would disappoint her, how… how there just had to be a way (not to put it to bluntly)  how there had to be a way to keep him, a forty-one year old man, from getting into trouble with his mummy. 

The lady didn’t even blink.  Took the papers, screened Joe’s old passport, told Joe they’d do their best and to come back at close of day, one and a half hours later and see what happened.

We left the building, hitting his references on speed-dial to warn them the call would be coming and would they be so kind as to be sure and answer the phone, only to discover that Passport Canada had already called his references- before we were in the car.  Joe returned, ninety minutes later, to face the music, and he had already reconciled himself to the idea that it was unlikely that the fact that he was a bonehead was an emergency that could conquer a bureaucracy the size of the Canadian Government, and was already planning what he would say to his mum.

I called minutes later to ask him if he’d gotten it? Was it okay? Did it work? Was it possible- and all Joe said to me on the phone was "Steph, you’re not going to believe this.  I love this country.  Apparently the risk of disappointing your mum IS an emergency. I have a passport."

You could have knocked me over with a feather.  I imagined them scurrying around, all the people at the Passport Office, calling the right people, doing all this stuff, all of them saying "Oh, man, we’ve got to get this done or his mother’s going to kill him" and suddenly I figured out why it had worked.  Joe’s a nice man, and everybody has a mother.

416 thoughts on “More of a chronic condition

  1. Wonderful story. And if there weren’t reasons enough to love our neighbors to the North, you’ve given another one. Besides, who would want to disappoint Joe either?

  2. I’m so glad that Joe gets to go with his mom. Thanks for the happy ending, Canadian Passport people!

  3. Wow! Can anybody “south of the (Canadian) border” imagine such a happy ending at our passport offices? No, I didn’t think so.
    Oh, Canada, I envy your bureaucracy!

  4. “…since the last time either Joe or I checked, being a moron wasn’t really an emergency, but more of a chronic thing.”
    Brilliant line.

  5. Hooray! (and can I tell you that it gives me a little happy in my heart to know that, with all the US-bashers in the world, that there are a few people out there who still want to come visit USA just for fun? thanks for that.)

  6. What a great story. You don’t hear about humans doing the nice, decent and right thing very often. All is not lost, there are still good folks out there.

  7. Stephanie, you are one funny person. Even if that whole knitting thing doesn’t work out, you could still keep us all in stitches with your domestic comedies. (Stitches!! Geddit? oh never mind.) This is a classic, along with the taxi driver story, the hole in the wall story, the furnace story….

  8. Yay for nice ladies in a big bureaucracies! I hope Joe has a great time at the Grand Canyon!
    And I keep my passport, those of my entire family and all of our social security cards in my underwear drawer. Is it that common/uncommon?

  9. I’m with Joe on this one. That’s where you will find my passport, mad money, and other important papers!
    Rats! I guess I’ll need to find another hiding place now….
    GREAT story! Have a wonderful time, Joe and Mum.

  10. What a great feel good story. Now tell Joe to have a wonderful time and not to get to close to the edge.

  11. That’s fantastic. Maybe I should move to Canada. I got my passport renewed with the ‘priority service’ about two years ago now, and they lost it.
    I was so hoping this would work out for him and it did!

  12. YEAH…this made me smile…like it reinforces that there are good, caring people out there that want to help. Especially help a guy to not disappoint his mum!

  13. I would agree that disappointing a mom could certainly constitute an emergency. How lovely of them!
    You might ask Joe to take a moment and write a note to the office or the bosses of that office with a thank you (after he gets back and send a pic?). So many places only get complaint mail, compliment mail is greatly appreciated.
    Wish Joe and Mum a safe trip!

  14. Apparently, I’m right thinking too (guess where my passport is?). The Cdn passport office is really pretty good. I had a good experience with mine a few months ago too.

  15. Great story but it would never have such a happy ending here. I am soo glad he’s not disappointing his Mum.

  16. I would actually like to take a poll of how many of us keep passports, and anything else we don’t want to lose, in our underwear drawers. And why is it that that is the safest place we can think of?

  17. There is crap in my life but then you add karmic balance by telling me a wonderful tale of human kindness (and human stupidity). So lovely to take a minute stepping outside and hearing you talk to me of bureaucrats who aren’t bureaucratic, of a 41 year old who loves his Mum, and of a world that’s larger than my currently blinkered focus.
    Thank you

  18. What a great story! It’s so nice to read about something positive. It’s too easy to complain about the bad things in the world. And it just shows how awesome Canada is.

  19. Delightful story. Yay for the extremely nice lady in the passport office! I hope they have a great trip from here on out. If they are going to visit Flagstaff, Arizona whilst in and around the Grand Canyon, please tell them to try the Late for the Train coffee shop(s) and the Beaver Street Brewery.

  20. Yay for Passport Canada! I love heartwarming stories like this. I do not think this would have had the same positive outcome in the US (where I am).
    Bon Voyage, Joe! I hope you enjoy your travels with your mum and enjoy the beauty and splendor of Grand Canyon. I hear it’s quite breathtaking.

  21. Wow! I cannot imagine that happening in the states! Even if the passport agent was very sympathetic, I think it has to go through several people. I just applied for a passport last week & they asked me when I was going to travel (so I guess they do give priority to folks who have travel plans in the near future) & they have a “rush” fee ($60 if I remember correctly) but I think that means you can get it in a couple of weeks. Of course, part of it is that this country is so much more populous – California by itself is substantially more populous than Canada. A couple that lives next door to us planned a trip to Acapulco &, when they got to the airport, the wife noticed that her passport had expired. They just gave up & came back to the gray cold of Chicago. Think how disappointing that must have been!

  22. I have to agree with kt. Your story actually brought tears to my eyes. It definitely renews one’s feeling of hope. Joe, I hear the Grand Canyon never disappoints. I hope you have a great trip.

  23. I hope that Joe and his mum enjoy their visit to my home state. I also hope they get to see more of it than just the Grand Canyon. There’s the Boyce Thompson Arboretum east of Phoenix with plants from arid countries all around the globe. There’s the BioSphere north of Tucson. It began as experiment to create a self-contained environment where the inhabitants would grow all their food and the plants would provide oxygen. West of Tucson is Kitt Peak National Optical Astronomy Observatory. There’s also baseball spring training happening right now. Alice Cooper lives in the Phoenix area and has a restaurant there. I could go on and on and on.
    And yes, disappointing one’s mum IS a national emergency. Good on the Canadian bureaucracy for recognizing that.
    PS it is extremely difficult to type on a computer keyboard when the resident Cat is sitting between you and it.

  24. What a weird week I’ve had, and I didn’t know until just this minute that the cure for it is a story with a happy ending.

  25. Mark me as another one with her passport tucked in her underwear drawer. We need another hiding place, we’re all too predictable.
    Yay for Canadian passport people! And can I go to the Grand Canyon too? I’d like to see it and I know Joe and Joe’s mom would be good company. I can be packed in an hour.

  26. That is completely awesome. Almost as awesome as the Grand Canyon, which could be considered to define the word in its proper use.
    (It also probably helped that you didn’t yell at them or claim it was THEIR fault or tell them their system was stupid or any of THOSE sorts of things!)

  27. I used to work in the Australian Passport office and we could issue a passport in an hour – and regularly did. It didn’t have to involve a mummy but it sure as hell had to involve nice. As a long standing bureaucrat I’ll let you all in on what should not be considered a secret but generally is – being nice, owning up to your mistakes and asking politely and thankfully for help will get you there every time. Lies, blame, defensiveness and self righteousness will put you on the bottom of the pile. Yay for Joe to be man enough to do the right thing!

  28. Joe will enjoy the Grand Canyon immensely. It is truly glorious (assuming access isn’t blocked by snow, which wouldn’t be a total surprise this time of year).

  29. Only in Canada. Hurray for the nice passport staff!
    Hmm. Planning a trip to Vancouver this summer, so I’d better check my passport, lol! Certainly the US Passport Office would never be so kind and helpful.

  30. So glad the story has a happy ending. Hope Joe and his mum have a fun and safe trip. Officially adding this to my “why I should move to Canada” list even if I probably wouldn’t have reason to be dealing with the Canadian Passport office.

  31. Yay! It worked out–I have to say that I was holding my breath hoping that it would work out! I second the idea of Joe sending a nice thank-you card and photo when he get back.
    As an aside, apparently ‘blocking a Tim Horton’s drive thru’ also classifies as an emergency! When I had my Jeep (quite a few years ago), it died on me, partially blocking the Timmie’s drive thru. Well, this happened to be one of the coldest days of the winter, so the CAA was swamped w/calls, and the expected wait time for a tow was around 1.5 to 2 hours. When the dispatcher found out exactly where the Jeep was, he said that I was a “priority” and the tow truck was there in less than 15 minutes (of course, it only had to be towed 3 blocks to my garage, but that’s not the point, lol). Good to know that ‘disappointing your mother’ is considered just as, if not more, important! Thanks for a feel-good story!

  32. Fabulous story!
    I am so glad that the passport office had the good sense not to disappoint Joe’s mum.
    We’re also going to Arizona next week, but we won’t be able to make it to the Grand Canyon. I hope they have an outstanding trip!!

  33. I’m glad the story has a happy ending.
    I’m also adding this to the list of reasons I wish I lived in Canada 🙂

  34. The Canadian Passport office that Joe went to deserves flowers or maybe just a picture of Joe and his mum smiling standing next to the Grand Canyon. Wonderful story.

  35. Hugs to you and your whole country. I had to skip a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Scotland a few years back, because I couldn’t get a passport in time. Good for you, and Joe, and joe’s mum.

  36. I’m laughing and crying at the same time. That is SOOOO awesome! Yay Joe and his mum!

  37. i love your country. i love my new house.. i knew there was one tiny issue with it. it’s a great piece of earth it’s on too (even if I have to tell the squirrels to leave my fibre well enough alone). the silly borders got all screwed up and it’s in the wrong country. hmm… i gotta work on that.
    safe travels to joe and his mum. best wishes for you while they’re gone….

  38. Disappointing your mom SHOULD be an emergency – always and in any country. Unfortunately, it’s not; so I’m glad that he got his passport in time. Dude, just the thought of hearing my mom use the “d word” at me makes me cringe.

  39. been there done that once… when my passport was stolen day before we were set for romantic weekend in Amsterdam… UK passport offices are hell holes, but they did give me a passport on the same day…
    Hope Joe and his mum have a great trip… enjoy some peaceful girlie time at home with the stash…

  40. Yay for the Canadians! Your whole country rocks! This is a brilliantly beautiful story. And I hope Joe realizes just how lucky he is!

  41. That is hilarious! Yet another reason why Canada is amazing (and to never understimate mothers) I hope they enjoy their trip.

  42. Apparently Joe (from years of your anecdotes about him) is the nicest guy in Canada. The passport people may not have done this for anyone else.
    (And if they hadn’t come through? I can just hear Joe’s response: “Oh, COME ON!”

  43. Good for Passport Canada and Joe, hope he and his mum have a wonderful time.
    Many years ago, long before 9/11, I got the opportunity to go to Russia… in 2 weeks. I was SURE that between the passport and the visa, I’d never get the paper work in time. I managed to get to Chicago, and 2 days later I had a passport. On the morning of the day I was supposed to fly out to Moscow, I was sitting in the Russian Consulate in Chicago, waiting for the Visa… “Come back tomorrow” they said, and I started to cry… and told them, in Russian, that that was no good because the group was flying out today and the tickets were nonrefundable (which is how I got the chance, in the first place, to go as a translator). I don’t know if it was the tears or the Russian, but they ran around and dug someone up and magically everything was approved with plenty of time to get to the airport. I doubt it would happen in this post 9/11 world, but sometimes there are good people in unexpected places.

  44. Loved the story! Of course, disappointing one’s mum is a matter of emergency! Depending on where you live in the US, it can be easy to get your passport- I got my first one while living in a small town in Maine- much nicer folks than the ones in New Orleans where I had to get my renewal one done. Of course, when I told her I didn’t trust a federal gov’t agency with my original marriage license, as I was afraid they’d loose it, that may have had something to do with it….heh, heh.

  45. Awesome!!! Seriously, the worst thing that could happen to me is disappointing my mom!

  46. This just restored some of my faith in humanity. And also made me want to live in Canada.
    Hope Joe has a great trip. 🙂

  47. Wow! That’s just seriously cool in all sorts of ways. Bureaucracy isn’t always heartless. I hope Joe (and Joe’s Mum) have a fabulous time!

  48. That’s fantastic! It’s so rare to find a really nice person in a government office. Surprisingly enough, the folks at the passport office in New Orleans are pretty fantastic as well. I realized with only a day before a cruise that my ticket had my married name on it and my passport had my maiden name. Got my new passoport that same day!

  49. I just came back from the Grand Canyon – so well worth the trip. And yes, good to hear of a gov’t agency working, and working well, for the people! Enjoy the trip.

  50. That’s so nice and I can tell you no way no how would it have happened in the US.

  51. wow, that is truly impressive. i work a lot with US immigration and such and sadly my guess would be that would never happen here – yay canada!

  52. Tell Joe to be sure to see the Imax movie about the expedition exploring the canyon. Big fun. There won’t be any snow on the south rim, which stays open all year. It’s the north rim that gets snowed in.

  53. Serious Canada-envy!! What a lovely story, and
    i hope Joe and mum have a fantastic trip. We’ll be at the Grand Canyon in 2 weeks–I’m lucky enough to take students there over spring break every year, and I think this is just about the most beautiful time of year to visit.

  54. I love happy stories. 🙂 That passport lady should be awarded a cupcake! Excellent customer service (and extra efforts to not make a mum unhappy) deserves nothing less. WITH lots of chocolate frosting.

  55. In 2008, six of us were planning on flying to Calgary and staying in Banff. Of course, the organizer of the trip realized two days before we were to leave that her passport had expired. Seattle passport office gave her an appt for the next day and all was well. Passport issuing folks can be wonderful!

  56. Oh, how wonderful! I love it when things like that happen.
    Although I admit, it’s rare down here- at least in this part of CA it is.

  57. “Oh, man, we’ve got to get this done or his mother’s going to kill him”
    Brought a smile to my face and a tear to my eye. Yes, everyone does have a mother and, if Joe told it the way you tell it Stephanie, I am sure the people in the office wanted to bend over backwards. After all bureaucracy is really just people. Makes me proud to be Canadian!

  58. Aww. Way to go Joe and Canada.
    If y’all come through Sonoma County in Northern California, you better let me know.
    Have a great trip.

  59. It happened to me as well. I was going to miss my daughter’s uni graduation in Scotland. Even the US passport agency can have a heart. I admitted I was a moron and that I would have a VERY disappointed daughter. I had a passport that afternoon and congratulations for my daughter!

  60. Oh, how wonderful! I so wish I could get my passport in an afternoon! It will never happen, but it is nice to know that somewhere, someone isn’t staying home because of a gov’t delay. I hope Joe has fun here in America with him Mum!

  61. Lately it seems all the comments I’ve heard about passport canada have been positive which is quite amazing since they must be busier than ever since we all now need passports to travel to the states. A few months ago I rushed up to the Oshawa office first thing in the morning from Napanee….which is almost 2 hours. I was in and out in 10 minutes and back at work in Belleville in about an hour. Passports were mailed back to me within a couple of weeks which I thought was great service because I wasn’t under any emergency. I love this country too!

  62. YAYYY! I so glad for Joe, and his Mum! They’re going to go absolutely bats**t over the Grand Canyon, it’s so-o-o beautiful & breathtaking. If you’ve seen photos, you haven’t seen it. It cannot be captured on film, it is just that amazing. Canada rocks, as far as I’m concerned.

  63. Don’t get me wrong, I love the U.S., but I have to say I doubt this would have had the happy ending at any of our government offices. Sometimes, it seems the civil service folks here are trying to get even with everyone else because they’re working for the government.
    Congrats to Joe and his mum.

  64. Yeah for Joe & his mom! Have a great time in the U.S.A…….And thumbs up to the Canada passport office. Love happy endings.

  65. I am so glad that your crisis worked out! I did some thing similar about 10 years ago. I discovered the Friday before I was supposed to leave for Spain on Wednesday that I could not find my passport. I called and they took all of my information and said I could check in person to pick it up on Monday. I drove to Washington and spent the night Sunday night with my daughter. Rode the Metro into DC and went to pick it up! I thought it would take all day. I got there at 1O:00 AM had it in my hand by 10:15 and was back on the Metro back to my daughter’s and on the road home by 11:30 AM. I was home by 2:30 PM! I lived 2 1/2 hours from my daughter! Now I check it as soon as I think of planning a trip.
    So now he is on his way for sure!

  66. Hurray! Like you said, everyone has a mum. I used to work for the US State Department and, whatever you can say about civil servants here, the people I worked with would have done absolutely the same thing.
    Hope they have a wonderful time.

  67. What a gorgeous story – I’ll have to remember it in case my long standing arrangement with my mum to take her to Paris when she’s an old lady (her usual response whenever I ask her something, like ‘Mum I’m broke in an airport overseas – can I have a little bit of money please’ – this doesn’t happen very often) goes awry from passport forgetfulness. I’m sure they’ll both have a great time.

  68. Again, well done Canada!!!
    Of course, disappointing a mother is an emergency…he may still have to live it down with her.
    What a “Grand” experience for them both.
    He will love the colors at the Grand Canyon…incredible!

  69. Hurrah for Joe and Mum! Yes, there are some nice beaureaucrats out there! Many years ago we were trying to get a liquor license for a new restaurant and got tripped up by the previous owners’ legal difficulties. A wonderful man in the New York State licensing division ( New York City and Westchester County) went way out of his way to help us. He said “My job description is public “servant”. I’m here to serve you, not hinder you!” One more hurrah for the good guys!
    (And in N.Y. yet!)
    Happy trails!

  70. Wow! Glad to hear that everything worked out great. The Grand Canyon is well worth the trip and this time of year not broiling hot (maybe snow). A night tour of the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff is also is also worth it. Happy trails to Joe and his Mom.

  71. I’m so glad for Joe and his mom, the Grand Canyon is a great place to visit! Yea, Canada!
    BTW, Tim Horton makes pretty good donuts! (besides having been a pretty good hockey player!)

  72. Does Joe plan to confess to his mum? Or will he pin his hopes on The Blog being able to keep a secret?

  73. Fantastic story! Canadians are lovely people! This would never ever in a million zillion years have happened in paranoid USA – he would have been detained as a suspect for something or other.

  74. My dad recently got a birth certificate and then a passport in 5 days start to finish. Because my dad is a bonehead who not only didn’t get a passport before planning to travel but forgot that he hasn’t had a birth certificate in decades (and had to get it from another province). Oh dad. Both offices were great and understanding.

  75. Makes me proud to be a Canadian, and a government employee to boot. Goes to show that some of us (actually most of us) do take the ‘public servant’ ethic seriously. Good on the passport office.

  76. Ahhhh! That was the best story! SO glad Joe will get to make his mom happy.
    Another reason I want to move to Canada.

  77. Just a note to my US brethren – it IS possible to get a same-day passport, if you live near one of the 6 regional passport offices! (Haha, what are the chances of that being the case, with a country so big?)
    I lost my passport 2 days before a big international trip, and I was able to schedule an appointment for the next day at the passport office 5 hours from my house. They assured me that if my date of travel was within a week or two weeks, I could get a passport on the same day as my appointment. All set to make the drive, I check “the last place I think about looking” and find my passport! At work! In the company vehicle! Where I thought I had never ever taken it!

  78. Unbelievable GOOD !! So gald for Joe he won’t get killed . Never too old to learn another lesson –hopefully. All the best Joe have a great trip with your Mom–enjoy enjoy.

  79. Re your last line, it may amuse you to know that the Japanese kanji (character) for ‘every’ is a combination of the kanji for ‘man’ and the kanji for ‘mother’ – because every man has a mother.

  80. Great ending. At least he could explain that he was the moron. I was already in Spain visiting my older son when my husband and son discovered that my son’s passport had expired. I had actually looked at it in October and just read things wrong. So my husband got everything started with the consulate in San Francisco; paid the expeditor fee; booked a new flight for our 18 year old son; got on the original flight and left. Younger son had a friend drive him to the consulate the next day and while the friend idled the car outside, he went in and got the new passport. I can’t remember whether the friend drove him to the airport or to the subway, but he made his plane with little time to spare. I, of course, knew nothing of this until my husband arrived in Madrid without said son. I was horrified and so embarrassed and worried that he wouldn’t get there and would have to spend the whole week plus at home in California. Needless to say, my son barely talked to me for the entire week. I am happy to say that by the time his passport expires, it will be his responsibility. Our passports are in the sideboard with all the tickets and gift certificates. Which makes me think I better go check mine.

  81. I hope they have a wonderful time!! And I’m so glad it all worked out, and he checked his passport with a few hours to spare. 😉
    We are planning to visit Toronto this summer! All our passports are up to date–we got them for all three kids, and I want to use them, darnit. So we are going to the nearest foreign country. Any idea how long it takes to get through Customs via Niagara Falls in August? I’m thinking a while…

  82. My mom had something like that in the US. She was packing for a business trip and could not find her passport. (It seems that on a drive from a funeral in Michigan to a hospital bed in New Hampshire, my folks went the shortest route–through Canada. They had put their passports in the glovebox (thankfully, once back in the US) and they slid into the engine and lodged there, only to be discovered by the mechanic a year later.) Anyway, they got my mom a new passport in something like 2 hours. I think, “I screwed up and am going to cry” may be an emergency.

  83. Great story – I needed one like this today. Hope Joe and his Mom have a fab trip, and there are plenty of beer o’clocks for you while they are away.

  84. An event not as unusual as you’d think…as evidenced by the responses. Another one here…without going into details, my daughter was able to get a passport overnight, but I’m certain that good fortune had a great deal to do with being able to get to San Francisco, where there’s a passport office. Bet Joe’s mommy would be travelling alone today if you guys lived in the wilderness somewhere. Let’s hear it for the cities! And safe journey Joe and Joe’s Mum. I hope the US treats you as well as Canada has always treated us.

  85. This brought tears to my eyes–because it all worked out and because Joe is sweet enough to do this for his mom. I had no idea Canadians had to go through so much just to visit a neighbor. That’s kind of sad.

  86. Reading your blog today made me smile EVEN MORE than going to Web’s today (2nd time in 2 weeks!!)…well, almost. Hope they have a great trip to the US!

  87. You could really put together a book of “Joe stories”. Just sayin’. I’d buy it!

  88. my heart is swelling with pride, just to be a part of this nation! and internally i am going “whew!” on your and joe’s behalf. i shudder to think of having to have THAT conversation if the passport couldn’t have been renewed! bon voyage mcphee clan!

  89. Yay Canada! Although I have to adit, the US passport office in NY city did a similar thing for a son-in-law of mine who misread his expiry date (European vs. American date style confused him). I think the key here is that Jason is also a NICE MAN, not the kind who tries to blame others for his mistake. He said nicely, “I know this is not your fault but I’d really appreciate any help you can give me in fixing it so I can take my family to Scotland for a family reunion.” They did it in one day, and the family went off a day late, but happy to be going at all. It does help renew your faith in niceness, doesn’t it?

  90. I love Joe. And I COMPLETELY agree with the previous commenter: you should publish a book of Joe Stories. It would be awesome!

  91. My husband was flying to Scotland for his grandmother’s funeral. The morning of his flight we discovered that his passport was expired. We live in the State but he is Canadian. He flew from the SF Bay to L.A. which was the nearest Canadian consulate. Oh, did I mention this was _on_ Canada Day? Fortunately they were open. They told him it could be up to four hours, it was done in less than two, he flew back home and was on the plane to Scotland the next morning.
    Not as bad as disappointing your mum but close.

  92. wow. I don’t think that would happen here in the U.S. That’s so awesome. Maybe someone above in the comments has disproven my theory, and that’s cool with me, but I can’t read them right now!

  93. How lovely! Thanks for sharing. If it wasn’t you telling the story, I never would have believed it!

  94. Don’t you love it when it all comes together? Yea for those office workers!! Hope Joe and Mum have a wonderful visit.

  95. I love this story! Not least because I work at the National Archives/National Library of Canada (LAC), and our researchers are constantly surprised that when you send us a reference question, we send you an answer! Even if your question is very complicated! And even if you are not Canadian! I also agree with the commenter who suggested Joe send them a letter – these make my day, and they add to my employee file as well.

  96. Yes, the Canadian Consulate in Boston, upon hearing that my father had lived and worked in the US since 1967 but was still a Canadian citizen with an expired passport (the day before going to teach grad students at Clare Hall, Cambridge, UK – so theotetically the brain cells are there), got my dad a new passport in two hours so that he wasn’t in trouble with his (Canadian) wife. Lovely!!

  97. Everybody knows that the only place to keep your passport is the underwear drawer. LOVE the way you tell stories, and LOVE Canada. Thank you for sharing something with a happy ending – I needed it this week!!

  98. I don’t think anyone has mentioned the most obvious thing: she WAS a mum. And she was not going to see another mum disappointed!

  99. Congratulations to Joe — what an awesome story. Hope he remembers to send that lady a thank you note!

  100. Great story. Made me giggle, as I sit here in the airport, waiting on a plane (no passport required).

  101. Speaking as a government bureaucrat myself (and a mom), that story would have had me racing about and bending over backwards!

  102. I absolutely love this story. In fact, much to MY husband’s horror, I interrupted his video game to read him something from THE Yarn Harlot, and even he loved it.
    Stephanie, you do have a way with a story. 🙂 Tell Joe to enjoy his trip!

  103. Wow. That is pretty darn amazing. I hope he and his Mum have a fabulous time at the Grand Canyon–it’s (literally) one of my favorite places on earth.
    Also, thanks for clueing the collective knitting world in to the Sleepy Hollow socks. I started knitting them this week, and I’m really enjoying the pattern!

  104. This is the most wonderful/hilarious thing I’ve read in a long while. I hope both Joe and his mum enjoy the good ole U.S of A.

  105. And very few mothers whom I know are able to go on vacation alone with their married children. And all the mothers I know would give their right arms (Clearly this won’t work for multiple children. It’s the thought.) to be able to do so.
    Yes they love their daughters/sons in law, and yes they adore their grandchildren, but to be able to spend time with a son or daughter without worrying about anyone else….golden and amazing.
    And you know that many of those passport officials envy Joe’s mum like crazy.

  106. Of course, disappointing your Mum is an emergency! The only unfortunate thing is that more government agencies don’t understand that. Can you imagine how efficiently governments would run if every performance review process included “would your Mum be disappointed with the way you perform your job?”

  107. Dude! Are you kidding me? Would never have worked here (US). Now, not only do I want to live in Canada because of your healthcare, I want to live there because your govt. can do stuff like this. I hope Joe and his Mum have a magnificent trip! The Grand Canyon is pretty spectacular. Can’t wait to hear what he thinks of it.

  108. Guess that nice lady after hearing Joe’s tale of woe decided Joe had suffered enough for his moron-dom. And also she has a mother.

  109. What a great story. I hope Joe sends the lovely ladies in the passport office a thank-you postcard from the Grand Canyon. It would surely make their day!

  110. Now that is just plain adorable. Both Joe explaining how he didn’t want to disappoint his mum and them making it a priority because they didn’t want him to disappoint him mum either. I can’t even fathom that happening in the US.

  111. This same thing happened to my friend here in the States! Only, her “boneheadedness” was discovered the day before she left for her honeymoon to Costa Rica — the one they’d had to postpone for months because she got hit by a car while biking. It’s so delightful when bureaucrats do something really, truly nice, isn’t it?

  112. Loved this story, Stephanie! So glad that it’s worked out for Joe (and his mum)!

  113. I love that story. I can just imagine all of the workers discussing how they had to get this done so Joe’s mom wouldn’t kill him… everyone has been in that boat right?

  114. I’m so glad Joe got his passport okay. Not disappointing your Mum is totally an emergency.
    If I may share, my favorite passport-getting story starts with a handsome man asking the lady at the passport office “Would you like to hear a love story?”. The man in question had three days before he travelled, and simply had to get to New Zealand from France to be with his beloved. Life doesn’t get longer, you see, and any bit of it away from her is wasted. The nice ladies at the passport office were not going to let the lucky lady be disappointed. 🙂

  115. I used to work for the U.S. State Dept. Among other things, we handled passport emergencies overseas. I can say with some certainty that that would never-freakin’-ever happen if you were in the U.S. Reason number 7,342 you are fortunate to be Canadian. (I love my country, don’t get me wrong. I consider myself a patriot, even. But, damn, sometimes I really hate my government.)

  116. Beautiful! Please rest during his absence. No huge projects…maybe just finish UFOs, like maybe, oh, I don’t know, Wild Apples Bohus…;)

  117. Joe can come to the U.S. anytime!! We’re crossing over into Canada on Saturday for a night! I’m so excited!

  118. i love my country, but i have to say – that would NEVER happen in the US!!! never, ever, ever… living in alaska and having to drive through canada to get to the lower 48 is such a wonderful trip because canadians are really wonderful people. going through their border is a breeze compared to entering back into my own country!! how is that even fair???? and people wonder why more and more US citizens are becoming anti-government! what a great story! and they will LOVE the grand canyon – if there aren’t too many people!

  119. Steph, I love your country too. When my husband and I were honeymooning there in the ’80s, we were broke grad students. His dad was going to send him some money through the St. John’s Post Office. When we got there, the PO was just closing up, and the man in charge of locking the door was leaving. But he said he would let us in the back and look for the letter. That would NOT have happened in the U.S., believe me. (Sadly, no letter, no money, but a very nice man.)

  120. awwwww! That made me a bit teary – Joe is such a peach! No wonder they moved mountains for him.

  121. I am so gald Joe gets to travel with his mum! I live in AZ (flagstaff actually) let me know if they like the grand canyon and higher power bless the Canadian government for being able to help Joe out!!

  122. Wow, that is amazing. In Australia they say it “usually” takes 10 days to issue a passport, but mine took more than 3 months. I didn’t read the fine print, which apparently reads “unless you have changed your name, in which case you need to provide us with enough evidence to choke a hippopotamus”. Then the hippopotamus refused to choke on the evidence, because post office had not certified it like they were supposed to. After the hippo spat out the documents a couple of times I rang up and offered to get a JP to certify the documents & hand deliver them. This offer was refused, because apparently the hippo will only choke on documents certified by the post office. I got my passport only days before I was due to travel.
    I don’t know what happened to the hippo, but the passport now lives in a bunny-proof container.

  123. I love this country, too. Great story and may they have the trip of their lives.

  124. Great story!
    I hope they enjoy the Grand Canyon, and that the people of my home state treat them as well as the people at the passport office!

  125. It really is amazing what nice people can, and will, do for other nice people. Nice should not be a perjorative. Nice should be taught. OH — I guess it is — BY MUMS! May their travels go equally well and may everyone they meet here in your neighbor to the south be just as nice.

  126. I think this is a wonderful story, but let’s keep it in perspective. There are nice people and mean people in all passport offices, whatever the country. It sounds like the Canadian ones have greatly improved since I have had to deal with them.
    Back in the 80’s, whilst my mother lay dying abroad and I stood before the person in a Canadian passport office, pleading my case, I was rewarded with the sour faced suggestion that I was making up a story and what I really wanted to do was to kidnap my then young daughter. As a single mother and all our small family preparing to leave, I had little choice but to bring her. I stayed in Canada for the extra days it took to demonstrate that her biological father was not going to reply to my request for permission to add her to my passport, my mother became comatose. I never got to speak to her again. Ever since, I have associated the Canadian passport office with severe humiliation and guilt. They showed not an ounce of humanity or sympathy to me or my family even after we got the paperwork in order.
    I’m so glad that Joe was able to get his passport and that the officials behaved decently! Really, it’s a lovely story.

  127. Been there, done that! A few years ago a friend sprung a trip to NY on me. I got a passport in a timely fashion, her being the type that plans well ahead. A couple of years later we decided to repeat the trip. I had packed hubby’s passport away, confidently leaving mine out on my computer desk awaiting our departure.
    Yep. You guessed it. I packed mine (off into storage at a family member’s farm a province or two away. 🙁 His, was sitting blithely on my computer desk.
    I explained my dilemma to the Passport office and yes, I think that they are most accustomed to the word moron being used by their patrons to describe themselves 😉
    I too, was able to acquire a passport in far less time than one would expect and with much less hassle and fuss as well.
    Yay Canada.

  128. I love it! That would NEVER happen in the US without you paying $400. I wish I were exaggerating.
    And disappointing your mom is a serious emergency! My mom books guilt trips for a living.

  129. My passport is in my sock drawer. The nasty, store-bought-socks sock drawer, not my good, handknit-socks sock drawer. And if I remember right, it might be close to expiring. Better check on that before I visit the ex-in-laws or Dad and I can’t go into Canada for Tim Horton’s. Would border agents understand a coffee/butter tart emergency? (Once, I’m sure we passed back into the States with no grilling only because I said I had to get Red Rose tea. I’ve got sources at home now for that-bags only though, not loose. Butter tarts, well, I’m still lookin’…)
    Hooray for the agent for going the extra kilometer! I hope Joe and Mum have a fabulous time!

  130. I hope Joe and his mom have a fantastic, memorable vacation together and that everything goes smoothly from here on out. But I wonder, will Joe tell her how it almost didn’t happen?

  131. Amazing! All good things should go to Joe, his mother, and you too. This was a good story, and much appreciated today.

  132. When a friend of mine’s father died in China her brother had to get his passport renewed within 48 hours and it cost him nearly $200 in fees here in the US.
    I’m glad Joe was able to do it without the hassle they put my friend’s family through

  133. That’s great! I remember the Grand Canyon from a family road trip ages ago… it’s frickin’ gorgeous.
    Anyway, if you have any of that soda bread and Irish stew leftover, do ya think you could send it my way? I’m too sick to knit!
    Really though, it’s so funny that I saw your menu when I caught up on the blog today, because a knitting friend of mine really is bringing over leftover Irish stew for me while I’m homebound. Awesome friends, knitters are…

  134. Lovely, simply lovely story. Bless ’em all. Long may they prosper. Bon Voyage Joe and Mum! I hope my side of the border people treat you well.

  135. It’s for reasons like this that I’m not at all upset that you guys took gold in hockey.
    Canada rocks. This US citizen is incredibly envious.

  136. So many reasons why this is such a great post, not the least of which is that you use lovely words like “wicket” and “mum.” We had a similarly heartwarming wedding license situation when we eloped in Whitehorse a few years back…which included the bureaucrat giving us the official—handwritten—marriage license and saying, “They might not recognize this down in the states, but it is 100% legitimate.” O Canada, you most magnificent neighbor to the north.

  137. That’s awesome, hurray for him!!! (And his Mum.)
    I’ll just put another check in the “move to Canada” column on my tally sheet.
    I hope he enjoys the Grand Canyon! (The National Parks are responsible for a number of checks in my “stay in the U.S.” column.)

  138. Canada sounds truly great. Everything I hear about it makes me want to move there except… for the weather. I wish the summers were a bit longer and the winters a bit shorter. I guess you can’t have everything in this life, can you?

  139. that’s just a fabulous story. perhaps we’ll have to move forward with that ‘political asylum’ plan after all…

  140. Yep, the underwear drawer, for years, and those of my daughters were in my drawer(s?) as well. Now the daughters are grown, and my passport is out on top of the bureau, ready to go! One of the daughters, the adopted one we were told should always have a passport for proof of citizenship, has lost hers. Much harder to renew that way. I guess she missed out on the underwear drawer idea.

  141. That story redeemed some of my faith in humanity. . .I loved it. I hope Joe enjoys the trip with his mother.
    For all the US Knitters, I can say that I was scheduled (in 2001, before 9/11) to go to China on a school trip and I didn’t have a passport. Not only did I get the passport in a week, but it had my Chinese visa already stamped in it. I can’t imagine that happening now, but once upon a time. . .
    Reading through the posts of Canadian knitters I can say that I really really want to return to your country. I know that not everything is roses, but God knows people do seem to care a hell of a lot more.

  142. That is amazing! Things like this NEVER, NEVER, EVER happen in the States. Hooray for Canada! Have fun on the trip.

  143. Wait, this is an apocryphal story, right? A myth? Like the honest repairman? A couple years ago I submitted my Canadian passport documents with more than 90 days to spare, and with less than 30 days to my departure, they hadn’t even opened the envelope to get it into the processing queue. I had to get my political representative involved. My passport arrived less than 48 hours before my departure.
    You folks have very fine luck. 🙂

  144. All I can say after living, traveling, and working in other countries YOU ARE BLESSED to be Canadian and we should really move NORTH!

  145. Joe’s mum is a lucky woman, both in having a good son and also having a good daughter in law. You guys are the best and the best mum’s should never ever be disappointed. Have a great trip!

  146. I am so happy it all turned out OK. Amazingly, my husband did the same thing when we went to Ireland – he didn’t notice his passport was expired until we checked in at the airport! Long story short – I flew to Ireland by myself while he scurried around Chicago getting all the papers needed for an emergency passport. then he magically got on standby the next day and arrived in Ireland 24 hours after me – mostly because he is a nice guy… and most people wouldn’t want to disapoint their spouse on their dream vacation.

  147. Passport in the underwear drawer. Right next to the download cord for the digital camera.
    Where else would you keep such things?

  148. I had a similar experience in the US, believe it or not. Discovered at the airport(!) on a Sunday, that my passport had expired. My work travel to Germany was screwed. Monday I went to the passport office at 7 am, got a new passport by 3 pm, and was on the 11 pm light to Berlin! Amazing that sometimes miracles do happen.

  149. Wow–that’s awesome. Despite what it feels like some days, being nice really does count and amazing things like getting passports in a day really do happen.

  150. I didn’t read the comments to see if it has happened, but my initial reaction was…
    “That would never happen in the U.S.”

  151. This is such a wonderful story that I’ve just read it aloud to my husband (who doesn’t have a passport, but if he did would certainly do something like forget to renew it in time).

  152. Somehow that does not surprise me; it just seems an extremely Canadian thing to do. Bravo all of you. Have a lovely time Joe.

  153. My mother certainly thinks disappointing her is an emergency! (I’m not so convinced…at least not ’til she starts reserving her disappointment for tragedies greater than my not responding to her email instantly or you know, being an independent adult.)
    Also, from someone who works with the’s really astonishing how much further you’ll get by being nice and polite instead of coming in pitching a fit and making demands. Seriously.

  154. Stephanie,
    As an international traveler as I started to read my mind said things like “no way”, “sorry”, OOPS and then you are so right, honesty and having a mother, they will get that passport ready. 🙂 all I can do is smile…. it only works for men.
    All my best, Melanie

  155. I once (loooooooong before 9/11) ‘lost’ my passport – somewhere in the house. We had a trip planned with another couple. So I had to report it as ‘lost’, explain it so that they wouldn’t put out some sort of master alert to all entry points (no really, it’s in the house somewhere) and they did get me my new one in jig time. No, wasn’t in hours, but I didn’t wait until that late.
    Here’s another. My mother (little old lady, grey hair, long before 9/11) left on a trip to Israel, got all the way to Paris to change planes, no passport. They were going to send her home. She looked at them and said “Don’t tell me this has never happened before..” They contacted the Israelis who said they’d give her a temporary entry permit, but the passport had to be there in 48 hours. Hubby and I were staying at her house that night, she called and told us this story, we took passport to airport, to Air France counter, and they sent it over. This was around 4 in the morning. It never occurred to us to ask what flight they were sending it on. We could have slept in.

  156. I have a friend who lives in L.A. who had the opposite problem — she was supposed to head to Canada the next day and discovered her U.S. passport was expired.
    Apparently in big cities with their own passport offices, there are services you can pay to take your passport down and get it renewed overnight or sooner. Because her trip went off as scheduled. Being a true cynic, I often wonder just how much of her fee to the expediting service goes to some bureaucrat in the passport office.
    But even in Canada, with niceness being a national virtue, Joe seems to be extra-nice, and so you know his mum is even nicer if she raised him. I’m sure the nice passport lady was overwhelmed with niceness fumes of that magnitude!
    And do give Joe’s mum my congratulations on waiting till he was an adult to take him to the Grand Canyon. We visited when my son was 12 years old, and it was the single worst day of my life. Only a 12-year-old boy can think dancing on the edge of a precipice and nearly causing his mother to drop dead of fear is a FUN way to spend a day. Whee!

  157. Travel, with or without one’s mum, seems to be very highly prized in Canada. Where else can you go where they offer you air mile points every time you buy groceries, shampoo, or a pair of socks?

  158. What a sweet story! Since all of us have idiot moments, it’s nice to hear about people helping out like that.

  159. What a lovely story. It helps to prove what I’ve thought all along, which is that you get back what you send out. Obviously all the (many, many) good things Joe has done have been accumulating somewhere and good karma is coming back to him. Like so many previous commenters, I wish Joe and his Mum a wonderful trip.

  160. Great story, as usual. I love the idea of sending a thank-you note with a photo of Joe and Mum in front of the Grand Canyon. When you work with the public in a high-stress environment (as I do), you really appreciate gestures like that; I save every note that I get in a folder, and sometimes on bad days I take them out and reread them and I always feel better.

  161. Like I always say – when you use honey instead of vinegar, everything ends up sweet. I would have moved heaven and earth to help someone who was taking their mum on a trip. Joe melted the hearts of many.

  162. Wow! I’m pretty sure that it would take a few days of concerted effort just to get through to a real person on the phone around here (US).
    Joe and his Mom are so going to love the Grand Canyon. If they want other places to visit, let me know. We have family in that area and they always have the best ideas for vacationing visitors!

  163. I love it. If only, here…! Thank you to your Passport office, thank you to Joe for being such a nice person, to his mum, likewise, and to you for sharing this with us. Go Joe! Have a wonderful trip!

  164. Wishing I still had my mom around to disappoint. We took her ashes to California last weekend and I was so touched by how nice everyone was – airlines, car rentals, hotels, you name it – They all went out of their way to make my journey as gentle as possible.

  165. After reading the comments, I’m still shaking my head in disbelief. I live within striking distance of the Grand Canyon, and wish Joe and Mum the best. If there’s snow, just settle in and enjoy it!

  166. What a heart-warming story – I wonder if the nice passport people are knitters, and fans of The Harlot!
    If Joe and Mum were likely to get snowbound in the middle of Oklahoma I’d invite them to my house, if it weren’t for the nightmare I had last week.
    ~~~ I picked Stephanie up at Will Rogers Airport and brought her to my house – which was much more cluttered than usual (Yes, believe it!) It was so bad I couldn’t even offer her a chair or a cup of tea.
    So what did our fearless leader do (in this horrible dream)? She made some kind of dough – looked like biscuit – and hand-stretched it out in a tiny space on the edge of the kitchen countertop.~~~
    Guess the situation was so bad she couldn’t even knit.

  167. Did you say you have to provide “Homeland Security” with “advanced travel information??!!” I am so sorry. We are so paranoid down here in the good old US of A. At least it got Joe to check his passport a FEW hours ahead of time. I remember not so long ago when we actually had a nearly free open border with our amazing northern neighbors and all it took was a driver’s license. I still love you all, and am so glad Joe can go on his holiday.
    peace through fleece.

  168. I recently moved to St. Catharines, ON – so had to update all my ID. And just for fun I thought I’d renew my passport while I was at it!
    I thought it would be a long day of waiting in line to even submit my application. Imagine my surprise when I had maybe a 10 minute wait – but was told it would take up to 3 months before I got the passport. No worries – no travel planned. The passport was delivered less than a week later.
    I miss travelling with my mother. We did driving trips to North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and DC. Flew to San Francisco (once), San Diego (three times), London and Paris (once, she died before our planned second trip). We also flew to Arizona and drove all over the state – Painted Desert, Grand Canyon, Sedona, Phoenix. Such a beautiful place – she loved it.
    I hope Joe and his mom have a great trip!

  169. I am so glad that I am not the only one !! This happened to our family 5 years ago. The expired passport belonged to my then 5 year old son. By the time we’d done the waiting in line at the passport office, one set of family driving to the airport with the bags while the others waited for the passport etc. we got the passport with 1.5 HOURS to our flight time. I ran though the airport dragging the 5 year old behind me the whole way. I don’t think his feet touched the ground. He just sort of bounced occasionally as I ran. I had the largest Gin and Tonic once the flight took off.
    I hope Joe and his mum have a terrific holiday.

  170. Oh, Bravo to those lovely people who rushed to help out your man. I’m as guilty as the next person to occasionally grumble about government agencies, but I am impressed that they came through so efficiently. Nicely done.

  171. This is what I love about the passport office. It’s full of human beings. I was shocked and pleasantly surprised when I received a call once to let me know that the cost of the passports had gone up right after I’d sent the applications, and that if I would just send $2 more for each application they could send the passports to us. I was surprised that it was a real live (pleasant!) woman calling me. And I was surprised they hadn’t just sent the applications back to us!
    Safe journey to Joe and Joe’s Mum!

  172. Aawww – I love that the passport lady didn’t even blink…. And Joe’s the BEST for going on a trip with his mom – may my son be so wonderful to me when he grows up 🙂

  173. HAHAHAHAHHA That was awesome. I’m glad things got sorted out for him. The Grand Canyon is a beautiful place, especially at sunset and sunrise. ^_^ I hope they have a lovely trip.

  174. What an amazing story! Now they are destined to have an epic vacation :D!!

  175. That’s fantastic! This seems like a brilliant example of the goodness of the Canadian people. In the U.S., I’m sure he’d be making that difficult phone call. After all, we actually think much of this homeland security bs is worth imposing on the rest of the world.

  176. Nobody ever wants to disappoint their mother, and I’m sure the lady behind the counter thought what kind of trouble she would of gotten in with her mother if she had been in the same situation. I’m so glad there are nice, wonderful people in this world

  177. Man, that’s a close call!
    I bet despite Singapore being a super efficient country, our immigrations certainly wouldn’t been able to match up!

  178. have i mentioned how much i love canada (seriously, i think if i couldn’t live here in Aus, and could deal with the cold, i’d live in canada)
    great story – glad joe gets to go spend time with his mum!

  179. Hooray for stories with happy endings! (And hooray for stories that don’t end with government organisations being cursed as bureaucratic killjoys – why yes, I do work for one – a government organisation, not a bureaucratic killjoy.)
    Every time I go on holiday I worry about my passport having expired. I’m going away at the end of next week, and even though I know I checked it last month and the expiry date was years away, I worry that I made a mistake, or that the date will have magically changed…

  180. In a world with so many stories of how life is dissapointing, it is so wonderful to see stories of how life is not.
    Thank you again for making me laugh out loud!

  181. Yay! It is always good to see what a little kindness can do. I hope Joe and his mum have a good time.

  182. Joe’s a nice man, everybody has a mum, and you have the great fortune of being Canadian. I love a country in which the potential to dissapoint a mum, ANYONE’s mum, is cause for emergency. LOVE it – what a wonderful story – thanks for sharing!

  183. What a great story! I think it’s pitiful that you guys had to tell Homeland Security all that info before you actually entered the country. I guess it turned out to be a really good thing because if you didn’t, Joe would have never discovered that his passport had expired. I just think it’s sad that now you need a passport to go across the US/Canada border. I grew up about 30 miles from Canada and I’ve spent quite a bit of time in your beautiful country. It used to be that going to Canada was more like going to a different town where some of the residents spoke French, than going to a different country. As young adults (before there were all the great microbrew beers in the US that we have now) we often went over to Canada to get “good beer”. I also developed an addiction for Butter Tarts (Mmmm butter tarts!) and I’m still looking for the recipe lol! I think it’s really sad that it’s no longer possible to do that. It was really great to get to know a small corner of another county and it’s people so well. It helped me realize that despite the different names, governments and customs, when you get right down to it we are all just people. We have more similarities than differences. It’s wonderful that Joe and has Mom got to go on their trip. I’ve never been out west to see the Grand Canyon but I hope someday that I will. I hope that they have a great time traveling, and you get a little bit of time to yourself. Thanks for starting my day on such a happy note. Happy knitting!

  184. It all seems so surreal that we need a passport to go between our two countries. Living in Michigan all my life, Canada is literally my next door neighbor, one with whom I have visited often and with whom I have enjoyed great hospitality each time. This story and the Olympics prove how very civil your society is. I hope Joes visit here is equal to all that I have experienced in Canada.

  185. Glad to see there is never a dull moment in your household! Hope Joe and his mom have fun in the Grand Canyon.

  186. All that and health care too! You Canadians are the best! I would visit more often, except my passport is expired…

  187. From friends’ reports of their passport office experiences recently, I gather the service has really improved over the past few years. I don’t think that would have been possible five years ago. Thank goodness for the new and improved service!

  188. I have to tell you – as a Jewish Mother that tale had me twinkling on the edge of my seat – though I imagined if it had NOT gone well, it would’ve started differently.
    Onliest way that would work down here is, — there are times when being a moron HERE *is* a legitimate emergency; there are so many of them.

  189. Wow, this is a really wonderful story. Thanks for the positive start to my day. And, I’m glad Joe didn’t have to disappoint his Mum.

  190. Wow…I think they only hire grouchy people at the passport office in the states… Hope they have a wonderful holiday.

  191. Karma indeed. Three cheers for the non-faceless bureaucracy – and the service people everywhere who DO listen! Bon Voyage to Joe and Joe’s Mom!
    Newfies at the Grand Canyon: “Eh, some impressive, byes, but we’ve got bigger potholes than that in Cornerbrook!”

  192. Wow. Just …. wow. That would never, ever, in a million years, happen in the States. Wow.

  193. This is so sweet. You are right everyone has a mom and they do not want to let her down.

  194. I’ve been working for the Government of Canada for more than 10 years and it was so refreshing to read this – especially given how maligned the public service is in this country. Steph – I hope you don’t mind but I copied and pasted this into an email and sent it over to the communications group at Passport Canada – this is the best kind of feedback they can ever hope for!

  195. Loved the story…totally brought a tear to my eye. I have never had problems with travel bureaucracy (knocking on wood), but I can attribute some of that to the “be nice and others will be nice” philosophy. I have been upgraded without asking – my friend and I booked separately and just thought we’d try to get our seats together at check in…sure did! and comfy too! Many similar things have happened in my life of international travel. I may be American, but my mom raised me right.

  196. I think that Joe was honest is another reason that his passport was granted. I would reason to bet that this would not happen in the land of the Grand Canyon. cd

  197. Oh what a lovely story! So glad their vacation wasn’t ruined by a simple mistake like that. And WOW just another reason I love our neighbors to the north! 😉 What a great country you all have

  198. Great story! Being nice, admitting your mistakes, and treating the person behind the wicket with respect go a long long way. I had the income tax people tell me how to refile my taxes so I would get a refund instead of paying a whack load of money. I followed directions, and the fellow phoned me a week before Christmas to say “Merry Christmas, I just sent you a cheque”.
    Do send the picture! I sent a note to the income tax people about this guy. And to the airline company who were NOT flying my Mom but found her anyway when she got confused and lost in the airport and had missed her flight (I was a 1000 km away) They stuck her on one of their flights, took care of all the paper work, and bought her a rum and coke on the plane. Both places sent back a note saying how much they appreciated receiving it. They hear waaay too many complaints.

  199. That’s terrific. A truly wonderful story.
    If I want to keep something safe, I put it with my yarn. Most people don’t want to delve into the scary that is my yarn closet (which is a mess, thank goodness spring cleaning can exclusively cover the yarn closet), so all important things are truly safe there.

  200. That’s fantastic! Good thing your Canadian; I don’t think our passport powers-that-be in the U.S. would have been so helpful. They’d have understood and they’d felt sorry for Joe, but they wouldn’t have done anything about it.
    Hope Joe and his mum have a great vacation! Tell them if they find themselves near Santa Fe, New Mexico and in need of anything, give me a shout!

  201. Wonderful post! I hope Joe and his mum have a wonderful time at the Canyon. I agree that avoiding the disappointment of one’s mum is an emergency. How grand to have the passport office rally together for Joe 🙂

  202. People all over the world are now going to their underwear drawers to fish out their passports to see what the expiration date is. Another public service rendered by the Harlot.

  203. I needed a little faith in humanity this morning. Sure, it says more about Canadian humanity than US humanity (which apparently doesn’t even think that a severely ill child in all kinds of crisis is an emergency), but you gave me a very large smile. Thanks. XO.

  204. I’ve dealt with Passport Canada several times and they’ve always been just so nice and so fast at doing what they do. They’re one of my favourite government agencies. Yay Joe and Joe’s Mum!

  205. Wow! This is one of the best reasons to move to Canada! A country full of people who love their mothers enough to recognize that disappointing yours is an emergency.

  206. Stories like this make me wish I was fully Canadian (I’m 25%, but I don’t think that really counts). You’d probably have a hard time getting a new passport here in the States in less than a month.

  207. this EXACT same thing happened to me 22 hours before I was supposed to depart for rhinebeck in 2007. 3 hours after my discovery I had a new passport in my hand. Only downside? The picture. I look exactly has crestfallen and crushed as I felt. But it got me to Rhinebeck, and I felt it was some kind of miracle.
    So glad that it all worked out for Joe and his Mum…

  208. What a great story! I needed the emergency rush passport a few years back, and the people at the Passport Office were sympathetic and efficient.

  209. All I can say is WOW. The country just south of you would rarely, if ever, come through on something like that. I am completely impressed both with your esteemed spouse for obviously being very convincing, and for the government employee that pulled out all the stops.

  210. Oooh, I was hoping it would be a happy ending! Yay for Joe (and his mum of course!). The guy’s got some good karma!

  211. This is a *great* story. Hooray for everyone in the passport agency who made Joe’s trip possible & kept him out of trouble with his mom.
    And for what it’s worth, I do boneheaded things all the time, but I mean well. I find that when I take 100% ownership of the boneheaded thing & humbly ask for help making it better (but without any expectation on my part that they’re somehow obligated to help me), people seem more willing to help.

  212. Lovely, lovely Canadian kindness. You have a beautiful country populated with extraordinarily kind people, blessed with generous spirit. Is there any chance that being born just millimeters from the southern Canadian border would afford one at least dual citizenship? You are one of Canada’s greatest ambassadors. Bon voyage Joe & his mom.

  213. I work for Passport Canada (the girl at the wicket) and I am so happy to hear you had a good experience. Situations like Joe’s happen often and we really do make every effort to get the passport into the hands of the weary traveller. Happy travels to Joe and his Mum!

  214. That is amazing and fabulous! I went with my daughter and her classmates on a field trip to Italy. I know — finally a field trip worth going on. One of the girls lost her passport (someone stole her purse). But, we were able to get her all the way home to the US without it. All we had was a copy of the page with her picture. I’m not sure what this says for the security of our airports and such (although I suspect it doesn’t go on the pro side and gives you some idea of how easy things must have been for the bad guys) but we were all way thankful.

  215. Since the underwear drawer is a place we (presumably) visit on a daily basis, it makes sense to put important stuff there. No more “When did I see it last?” conversations with yourself.
    Except now we all need new hiding places…

  216. Hooray for the nice lady at the passport office — so nice to hear about beaurocrats being human rather than just not caring about people, and that Canada has its priorities straight — mums (and dads) are very important people. Hope Joe can send her a nice thank you note.
    And can’t wait to hear what they think of the Grand Canyon — it’s one of my favorite places to visit. First trip there, I drove from Tucson (100 degree Fahrenheit) to Phoenix (80) to Sedona (55 and the trees had autumny colors to them) to the Canyon, where it was 30 degrees on the rim and snowing. Got to see some large deer-like creature standing in the snow (fortunately not in the middle of the road) and the amazing sight of the sun coming up over the Canyon. One of the most spectacular things I’ve ever seen.

  217. Hope Joe and Mum enjoy the Grand Canyon. I live in Arizona and find it to be a beautiful state. Mountains, streams, desert, wild life etc. Just tell him that this time of year is when the rattlesnakes come out of hibernation so be careful!

  218. Stunned as a bat… a new turn of phrase for me. 🙂
    So glad Joe is nice and your bureaucracy is nice as well. I loved the Grand Canyon and know that he and his mum will as well.

  219. So happy for you, Joe, and his mum. Canada and her citizens are a beacon of hope to all of us. I have given up telling my relatives in the US how nice, and full of common sense (and Mother-loving) Canadians are–they just do not believe me. Go Canada!!

  220. Wow, that’s great! It does happen that if you are sincerely nice about your personal emergency, other people will help you with it. But it works best if you live in a country of generally helpful people! Wishing Joe and his mum Bon Voyage!

  221. This was a great story, as I read it it made me laugh a little, then a lot. I’m glad Joe got his passport thing fixed. Have a wonderful and safe trip!!!

  222. Feeling the need here to stand up for the good old USA. To all those who have said, “That would never, never happen in the U.S.”…it does all the time. People have emergencies; passport offices hear all kinds of stories every day and help make things right for folks when they are able. Extra fees to do so? Of course, but it was your screw-up in the first place, so that’s the price one pays.
    Here’s another “I can’t believe it” passport story, this time from London, England. My late aunt, a widow, had a renter in her three-story West London home for decades — lovely young man who looked out for her. All she knew was that he worked in a government office. When it came time to renew her passport, she mentioned that fact to him and he offered to take care of it for her. When he looked at her passport, he found his own signature on it! He was the passport officer who had approved her passport application many years before. I still find that an amazing story,

  223. Joe is so lucky and blessed! I don’t think anything like that would ever happen here in the US. I’m sure he is going to have a great trip..I’m from Arizona and have been to the Grand Canyon (the “big ditch” as my Grandfather called it) several times. I hope they have good weather, see the things they want to see with no more mishaps.

  224. Hope you don’t mind if I pass this on to a friend of mine who works for Passport Canada. I’m sure she and her colleagues will be thrilled.

  225. Easier for your Mum to visit Canada. A government office actually HELPING in an international matter just boggles the American mind. A friend, married to an Irish woman, living in the US had a brand new born baby. Irish grandfather suddenly died. The entire US government would not give a week old baby a passport to go with her mother to Ireland. This is pre-911 as well. Dad, a high level state government employee, had to stay home,using his sick and vacation leave time, teach breast fed baby to take a bottle, call in his parents from out of state, miss work where he was very needed and about lost his mind. Momma, estranged from her very first, long awaited baby was distraught for 3 weeks in Ireland. Lucky, sweet Joe and the lady who helped him. Give her wool!!

  226. Lovely! Yep, it’s great to be a Canuck! I’m not gonna test my Canuck pride at the Passport Office any time soon, though! Hope Joe and his mum have a great trip!

  227. Oh, how I love this! I am sure that you are correct. We all have Moms and we don’t want to let them down whenever humanly possible, whatever our age. I hope our side of the border is as nice to Joe and his Mum as your side was!

  228. Safe travels to Joe and his mum! So glad the passport office actually took their job seriously and helped you out when in a bind. Just another incentive for me to look into moving to Canada!
    What are you going to do with all of your “free time” when Joe is gone? 😉
    ~Annastasia from Seattle

  229. Great that Joe got his new passport and his mom won’t kill him! Reminds me of my stupidity a few years ago! I was supposed to get on a plane to return to the States from S. America….thought I knew where my passport was….and the morning of the flight….hunted through the house, tore the house apart, looked through everything….no passport. Ended up getting an emergency passport also….but the computer system was down so had to wait 3 days wallowing in my stupidity. Found it 6 months later when we moved and it was between 2 magazines. Traveling is one thing….lving overseas without a passport is something different!

  230. I was totally waiting for the unhappy ending at the end of this story. Thank goodness that it all worked out! And I agree – it IS an emergency to disappoint your mother!

  231. Lovely story, gave me a real smile this morning.
    Regarding the underwear drawer thing…I suspect we do this because it is a drawer we open every day and thus we remind ourselves that said super-important thing is still present and accounted for. Something rather comforting about laying eyes on such an important things every day.

  232. Yes, Joe’s a nice man. But I cannot for the life of me imagine the USA would have done that!
    I hope he and his mum have a fabulous trip!

  233. Of course Joe is a nice man and how very great that is to be recognized by something as impersonal as a passport office. Thanks for the reassuring story.

  234. The underwear drawer is usually the top drawer, and also usually the shallowest drawer. Theoretically that makes it easier to find things there. It’s not as secure as a safe deposit box but it’s easier to get at, for date checking purposes. A color photocopy of the important page(s) is a good thing to have, stashed separately.

  235. i dont know why but this made me cry.
    that is freakin awesome!
    im glad that someone recognizes how important mum’s are:)

  236. Happened to my brother-in-law last summer on his way to Europe. Apparently, in the US, disappointing your wife and children isn’t quite as much of an emergency, but he did get a new passport within a week.
    Love these types of stories. They keep me from committing homicide when my husband has boneheaded moments. ’cause, I’m perfect, don’tcha know?

  237. That’s great and this is why I love Canada. and it’s people. I am sure they will have a fantastic and hopefully safe trip!
    I have a similar story involving the Canadian Citizenship offices and I’d love to quickly share it.
    When we were in the process for our Canadian citizenship application, which was supposed to take about 18 month, we were also in the application process of adopting our daughter in a shorter time than those 18 month (we had found out only after we started the adoption process that we needed Canadian citizenship to get our daughter from China). So what to do? I decided to write faxes to the citizenship office (no personal contact is allowed) and pleaded our case. I send 2 faxes. While we never heard back from the office we did get our Citizenship test date within 6 month of applying for it, which was really fast. When we took the test we found out that we would have to wait another 3-4 month to have the final ceremony, which would have been to late for the adoption and so, this time in person, we pleaded with a very nice woman our case again. And sure enough a short while later we we able to attend the ceremony within a month after the test (so over all it took us only 8 month to get our citizenship). So right from the ceremony we went to the passport office and applied for emergency passports, which we received within 18 hours and send photocopies to China the same day. It was just in time, because our file was in the Chinese adoption office already about to be matched with our daughter. So thanks to some anonymous people in the Canadian Citizenship office, who I will never be able to thank personally, we were able to fly to China 3 month later to bring home out daughter.

  238. I’m so glad that it all worked out for Joe! And it is comforting to know that this sort of thing happens, not just to me, but also to others.

  239. Seriously wonderful story! I’m thrilled to read it. Three times, even 🙂 I’m so delighted that Joe and his mum get to have their trip, and it’s equally delightful that Joe and his siblings take it in turn to spend this kind of time with their mother.
    I second (or third, or two-hundred-sixty-fourth) the idea of the note to the passport office. Having worked in my share of bureacracies, I’m aware that the rarity of such a note would rate its being framed and set in a place of honor on a prominent wall somewhere. I’m sure it would make the day, if not month, of the worker who assisted Joe.
    I’m also quite certain that you and he thought of it before anyone in the blog comments made mention, because I feel confident in saying that from what I read of you, it wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest that this is just the kind of people you are.

  240. Y’all, get your papers out of your underwear drawer! Take your cash out of the freezer, from between the mattress/box springs, and stop taping stuff on the underside of the toilet tank lid! Just say no to hiding places that everybody already knows about! And congrats to Joe on his good karma coming through.

  241. A true sign of Joe’s amazing karma. Of course only in Canada! Best wishes for wonderful and safe travel.

  242. Everyone fears a Mother!!! I know he will love the Grand Canyon, we went last year for our 40th anniversary, did both ends, went out on the glass shelf, and spent a whole day just wandering from vantage point to vantage point, the most amazing place.

  243. Bon voyage to Joe & his mum. I hope the trip lives up to expectations – the Grand Canyon is amazing especially at sunset. If time permits suggest they go to Monument Valley too – John Wayne impersonations optional!
    I hope you and the girls can do something special together while he’s away.
    By the by – how many people have rushed off to their hiding place of choice to check on the expiry date of their passport? Who me?

  244. Lucky the Canyon isn’t a state park. Arizona is closing a majority of its state parks due to budget problems and an inept governor.
    Hope Joe and his mom enjoy the Canyon. It takes your speech away when you first look.

  245. Thanks for putting a smile on face (again). I hope that Joe & his Mom have a great trip.

  246. I’m not quite sure why, but this story brought tears to my eyes. Maybe the prospect of bureaucrats being humane and helpful, maybe Joe getting off the hook, maybe his mum getting her vacation after all….dunno, but I’m a bit misty.

  247. I love it! That is a great story! I hope their trip is as wonderful as the story that will always be told along with the travel tales!

  248. Yes, no one tells/writes a story like you do – granted. And yes, we all agree that Joe’s a truly nice man.
    But let’s give credit where credit is due. Joe is probably a nice man, precisely, because of his mother!
    Delighted that your government understood that.
    And indeed, the Grand Canyon is one memorable vacation. So wonderful that they will see it together.

  249. Wow, your story brought tears to my eyes….not just because I was happy it worked out for your family but because I knew deep in my heart that my country would come through when it counted.
    I may have live in the US (hubby is an American citizen….but I don’t hold it against him) but I am and will forever be so very proud to be a Canadian.

  250. What a wonderful story. I think you hit the nail on the head… nobody would want to disappoint their mother, we’ve all done totally stupid things, and we all can relate to our mother telling us what an idiot we are for one thing or another where we should have known better. Everyone in that office could put themselves in Joe’s place… and would hope that someone would do the same thing for them. Hope he enjoys his vacation.

  251. Apparently hockey isn’t the only place you Canucks outshine us!
    Bon Voyage to Joe and his mum. Hope he has a great trip!

  252. Awww! What a great story. I hope they have a great trip! (I have only seen the Grand Canyon from an airplane and even at that height, it’s massive. I’m not sure I’d be able to process its vastness from ground level.)

  253. I got to the airport in Baltimore once and discovered that I would NOT be flying to Germany, since I was also the proud possessor of an expires passport.
    I was at the passport office in Washington DC when it opened the next day. Four hours and a bunch o’ money later, I had a passport. I also had to pay to get the ticket changed. All told it was like $300 in Stupid Tax.
    (I feel better knowing I’m not the only one who does things like this.)

  254. That is the best story I have heard in a long time. “Not too hopeful, since the last time either Joe or I checked, being a moron wasn’t really an emergency, but more of a chronic thing.” I am going to read this line to my husband, who is a chronic procrastinator and fits this to a tee. I am so glad that Joe was able to get his passport taken care of. And having a mother and also being a mother, I would have to agree that it was an emergency 😉

  255. Who says Karma ain’t for real?? You got your cellphone back, Joe got his passport.
    The truth is there are good, kind, wonderful, helpful people everywhere – sometimes one just has to give them the opportunity to be good, kind, wonderful or helpful. Sometimes, one just has to ASK.
    “Is there anything you can do to help me out here?” It’s an amazing thing, but most people really DO like to be the hero. It happened to me just the other day with the United States’ SEC, themselves a bit of a bureaucracy. But one woman used her power to help me out of a pickle – and because of her kindness, I was inspired to turn around and pay that kindness forward to someone else.
    Stephanie, you inspire and promote that kind of ‘pay-it-forward’ mentality here on your blog amongst this group of knitters. Next time you’re “feeling like a moron”, kindly remember that, OK? And “Thank you.” You make me a kinder, more helpful person. And I suspect I am not the only one.

  256. YAY! What a great story! And it provides me with great relief because that is EXACTLY the kind of situation my husband would also find himself in and then he would look at me like “OMG you have to fix this! What do I do?!” And the little voice in my head would be shouting “This is what you get for being totally unorganized” while also feeling bad for him and hoping it worked out despite it being a great lesson in planning skills 🙂

  257. BEing a thinking person, I’m going to my underwear drawer to check the expiry on my passport! 🙂 Glad it all worked out!

  258. I’ve had some bad news lately and this story of government paperwork gone right, really helps balance it out a bit. Thank you.

  259. Are you leaving out the part of the story where the nice passport lady turns out to be a knitter and Harlot junkie?

  260. Tell Joe and his mum to be sure to look up at the night sky while they’re there. Most beautiful star-filled glory I have ever seen in a long life.
    And you know what? I’m with the people who say that if you are nice, you’re more likely to get nice back. I’ve had several helpful, rapid interactions with the passport office – the U.S. passport office!

  261. Glad the passport worked out! Whew! But here is what I am really writing about. I was really impressed by the sweaters the Canadian athletes were wearing at the Olympic closing ceremonies (I did not see the opening one, alas).. were those Cowichan sweaters that they were wearing? I hope that they were not made in China. do you know anything about the sweaters?

  262. I have to gently correct those who believe the same thing could never happen in the US. Two nights before we were to leave for a long-planned trip to Belize, I pulled out all the family passports and saw that my youngest son’s passport was expired. As passports are my responsibility, I saw my life (and our vacation) passing before my eyes. We went to the US Passport office in Boston the next morning in panic, and stood in line with a whole host of other shell-shocked people, including a woman who went to the airport with her family and discovered at the check-in counter that her passport had expired. The guards were empathetic, the people in the office kind, and within 5 hours we all returned to get our passports. So at least in this case, US bureaucracy didn’t weigh us down. Maybe Canada and the US have a helpful-passport-agency-for-those-who-screwed-up-multi-lateral-agreement?
    Have a great trip, Joe and Mum!

  263. Just so. Joe IS a nice man and everybody does have a mother.
    Only in Canada, however, do I believe this could possibly happen. The politeness factor is involved.

  264. Y’know, mostly why I love your blog is because our approach to knitting is very similar (hopeful thinking, apply beer as needed). It’s when you write on non-knitting topics that I realize how phenomenally good a writer you are, and then I realize THAT’s why I love your blog! Thanks for producing the goodness, day in and day out!!

  265. Wow. considering the state of the passport service here in Ireland at the moment, I’m even more in awe. Love this story!

  266. Damn, Joe seems like my guy’s twin in some ways. We had a similar thing with him renewing his passport at the last minute back in January.

  267. Never in the U.S., unfortunately! Maybe if we had mums instead of moms or mothers????

  268. How many people got up from reading this entry and checked the expiry date on their passport? I did. 2013. I’m good for a while yet.

  269. What a great story! Yeah us!!! And, I’m so happy to hear of someone else who keeps their passports (and in my case also the kids’ immunization records) in their underwear drawer. Strange I know, but it’s somehow always been the most sacred, safest, impregnable place in the house. Huh, go figure!

  270. Love, Love , love this story! Hopefully one day, my now 16 year old daughter will be as concerned about my feelings and go to such lengths as you and Joe did for his mom. I hope they both have a lovely time.

  271. I love Canada, even though I’m not Canadian, but American. But my DH is from Canada, and most of his family is still there, and, like I said, I love Canada because this story would not happen down here.

  272. If you would just make the winters a little less bitter, I’d be all for relocating

  273. My husband has taken over most of the duties of fixing problems over the phone ever since he retired, since I’m still at work and I never seem to have time to do these kinds of things anymore (mostly cuz he does have time, I imagine).
    This week he had to contact two Canadian federal government departments–Canada Revenue Agency, where we pay taxes, and the Canada Pension Plan office–and both times he spoke to kind, service-oriented people who solved his issues before he got off the phone. And, he wasn’t on the phone very long.
    On the other hand, he’s been dealing with a very large telephone company, well-known across the country, the third time in as many weeks, to solve a problem which has been outstanding for nine months and which we were told twice before was fixed, and we still aren’t any further ahead now than we were nine months ago! He was speaking to people who don’t live in this country and apparently also don’t know what the difference is between a telephone account and an Internet account.

  274. I hope you realize, Joe is now going to become the stuff of Urban Legend. “Dude, I heard about this guy, who’s passport expired, and like, they let him get a new one super fast so his mum wouldn’t freak out.”
    “Woah, Awesome.”

  275. Letting down your mother is a disaster of epic proportion. I am glad the government in Ottawa understands that such a thing is unthinkable!

  276. What a wonderful story. Made me cry. I love to hear about decency and kindness. Sometimes it is so hard to catch sight of, what with all the attention the ugliness gets.

  277. Glad it all worked out for Joe. That would have been a disaster, which I’m sure his mother and siblings would never let him live down. I know I would torture my brothers for all eternity if it happened to them.
    I will admit that after reading this I went to check the expiration date on my Passport. I’m good until May 2011 🙂

  278. I wish we had a country like that (she says teary eyed). The US..great in lots, but lacking in much person stuff.

  279. WOW-would never happen in the States and maybe for the queen in the UK…You are in one great nation!! I only occasionally read a post from my favorite blogs to my husband..I did read and we both had a good laugh at Joe’s expense. Chronic moron-icity….hmm what ending should go there? runs in our family too.

  280. What a wonderful story – I hope you show these comments to everyone in the passport office. I’ll take the printout along next time I have to deal with the British High Commission Passport Office in Australia – they could learn a thing or two.

  281. Oh, I’m so glad it all worked out for Joe. I am the world’s worst traveller, and have missed many planes because, when it comes to airline information, apparently I can’t read. But don’t you find it funny that it was easier for him to have his passport renewed in less than 24 hours than it was for you to get on a plane because the airline had screwed up your hyphenated last name?

  282. Oh, Canada, indeed.
    If my mom heard this story she would want to move there, in spite of the cold. Any country that takes that sort of care of its mothers (and their oblivious sons) would be at the top of her list of Great Places To Live.

  283. I love Canada, too! I’ve only visited once, but even in my youth it struck me as a great place to live. Moreover, Canada earned a very special place in my heart after September 11th, when the wonderful people of Canada opened their hearts and homes to thousands of stranded travelers. Given that tremendous act of kindness and generosity it doesn’t surprise me that they’d handle a passport without batting an eyelash.

  284. Reminds me…. of my father.
    The other day, we were going to Australia and we needed the visa for some places in the world, we’re uncivilized, so uncivilized that there’s no Australian embassy in this country… well, yeah, this is that bit of Europe where going abroad is a two-hour trip in just about any direction but still. And, at the embassy in Vienna, the nice lady found that my dad’s passport is full of other visa and stamps and possibly coffee stains that there’s no space for the visa sticker. With three days to go.
    I don’t know what he did with the folks at the passport office because the shortest time one could get a new passport was three days and he got it during a coffee break. I suspect that there was something like ‘my wife would kill me’ going on.
    Hope Joe and his mum have fun.

  285. OK, I am laughing AND crying. Having a tough time with my kiddos and enjoying my mom. What a blessing! Enjoy your time at home.

  286. Thank you for sharing this story!! I am very happy for Joe and God Bless the people who made it happen! Hip hip hooray!

  287. Wow, was he lucky, both to have the passport renewed and to be able to go to the Grand Canyon! I hope they have a great trip!

  288. Well, in Scotland, being 7 months pregnant and not disappointing the MIL is an emergency too! Same thing happened to me before we went on a 3 week holiday (paid for by MIL as a birthday present) to France and Spain. I couldn’t believe how stupid I’d been and was so stressed, but all was fine. Phew. Luck of the gods JO, luck of the gods.

  289. Boy, that’s awfully sweet of them. I doubt very much that that would happen in the US- the bureaucracy is scary (and I say this as a former government employee…). I’m glad it worked out, and I hope Joe and his mum have a great trip!

  290. Once in a while you get one of us sympathetic civil servants. Happy endings are so nice)

  291. Great story. I imagine if I had a 41 year old man who fessed up, admitted his mistake and sincere wish not to disappoint his mother I too would do what I could to make his passport happen.
    Joe seems like a good man and isn’t great when good Karma comes back to one.

  292. Oh Canada!!! Yet another reason to want to live there. . . which I do. They were so kind when we picked up our marriage license in Ottawa–since at the time, there was no place in the U.S. where we could get married–and no one gave us dirty looks or sneered, not from the time we got our license in Prescott to the people in the licensing office when it was filed–unlike people at the drivers’ license bureau here when I tried to change my name according to their instructions. Alas, Canada doesn’t really want transplant English professors who are nearing retirement age. Sigh. . .

  293. Oh Canada!!! Yet another reason to want to live there. . . which I do. They were so kind when we picked up our marriage license in Ottawa–since at the time, there was no place in the U.S. where we could get married–and no one gave us dirty looks or sneered, not from the time we got our license in Prescott to the people in the licensing office when it was filed–unlike people at the drivers’ license bureau here when I tried to change my name according to their instructions. Alas, Canada doesn’t really want transplant English professors who are nearing retirement age. Sigh. . .
    And we keep our passports, birth certificates, tickets, and savings bonds in our freezer!

  294. love(billionty)
    so so so so wonderful! What a nice lady, and yes being a nice person does actually work in your favour sometimes!

  295. As someone who comes to the US from Canada for the winter season (six months) make sure your passport doesn’t need to be renewed IMMEDIATELY upon your planned return. Because if you are detained with a medical emergency and your passport has expired, it can be difficult getting back home.
    As well, don’t be dopey like me and not renew your passport at the same time as PC …..AKA Prince Charming, just to save $20.00. Do it at the same time and make your life easier.

  296. I’d love to believe this happy ending is the result of Canadian bureaucracy having its heart in the right place, but really I think Joe is either incredibly charming or extraordinarily lucky. Or both.

  297. It was the disappoinging mom part that did it. Some paperpushing, pen hopping person remembered what happened to them when they disappointed their mom and did not want your hubby to to go thru that..EVER. They had mercy. There really is mercy in the hearts of burocrats.

  298. See I knew I always loved Canada! That never would have happened here in the U.S. … great story!

  299. We keep our Last Will and Testament in our underwear drawers as well. I mean really, who’s going to rifle through there unless you’re dead?

  300. Bless the Canadian passport office! May only good things happen to everyone involved in getting Joe his passport! That’s got to be a major karmic brownie point…

  301. Thank god that worked! You know I had heard of people having issues with getting their passports but when I had to get my daughter’s in a rush they were the most helpful government office I’ve ever dealt with. They even called to update me and ensure I turn in a document they needed instead of letting me find out when I tried to pick it up. Go Canada passport office! Hope Joe enjoys his trip.

  302. Actually, that does and can happen in the US. I walked into a passport office in Chicago one morning at 9:00am with my marriage certificate and passport and needed my name changed to take a flight that evening. They told me to come back on my lunch hour…and there was a passport waiting for me.

  303. Hurrah for the happy ending! Joe must be an exceedingly good sport in general, as he must know the story would become blog material. But most of us can sympathize with being a moron at times. Hope the vacation is wonderful, and how lovely that his Mum is still up to traveling and enjoying such things. Blessings to them both.

  304. i’ve had a similarly wonderful experience at the Canadian consulate in LA. amazing staff who managed to get me to thailand for holidays despite the fact that no one thought it was possible.

  305. That’s great.
    I don’t understand though, how they can get that done in 90 minutes, but yet, send them all your documents by mail for regular service–pre-checked by an official at the post office for an extra $15–and they can mispell your name. Then, in order to fix it, you have to get new photos, signed, the whole works again. However, Customs didn’t notice on 3 separate trips out of the country that there was an error.
    What a great country we live in (I truly mean that).

  306. I love this story. I love Canada. Someday I hope I can go there, maybe even stay. 🙂 Thanks for sharing. I hope they have fun.

  307. I’ve totally done that before, but the US passport office was not so obliging. I got it fixed after paying a buttload of money. Glad it all worked out!

  308. Reason number 7,328 I want to move to Canada. I promise you, upsetting your mother won’t get you any sympathy at the Department of Motor Vehicles in the States, much less with passports.

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