The problem started when my friend Sunny gave the bartender his ID first.
“Why do you have a Kentucky license?” the bartender asks, like people from Kentucky have the plague.
Um…isn’t that kind of a rude question? There could be many reasons why he has a Kentucky license and is in Pennsylvania, and he tells her the truth; he is visiting his friends and family here.
Well, the Kentucky ID threw her off because then she really examines my PA one. I just turned 24 the week before (he’s 25) and I renewed my license recently with the new PA design.
The bartender asks me, “Why does it say ‘Not for REAL ID Purposes?'”
…. Because it’s not a REAL ID, but it is a real driver’s license.
I wonder who had the bright idea for the name REAL IDs and to stick the phrase “NOT FOR REAL ID PURPOSES” on driver’s licenses. I can see how the phrase can be confusing and also pretty stupid. I recently got back from a vacation at the Finger Lakes, New York, and one of the servers said she didn’t serve a group from PA before us because she thought their IDs were fake.
For clarification, REAL ID is optional for PA residents to board domestic commercial flights or enter federal facilities that require ID. When I first heard about the REAL ID, I was confused if I would need one, but if you have a valid passport, it is unnecessary.
I explain to the bartender what the Real ID is and how it is different from a driver’s license. She also notes that I just renewed my license recently…like yes, I renewed it a few weeks ago because it’s real.
She asks if we have any other forms of identification on us. Sunny pulls out his Sam’s Club card, which also features his picture, and I have credit and debit cards with my name and signature on them. She examines our IDs and our cards, and I can feel everyone in the bar staring — or trying not to stare — at the scene she created.
She walks away and I assume everything is fine now. We still don’t have our drinks though and I think she forgot about them, but then she comes over and tells us to sign Declaration of Age forms for the PA Liquor Control Board. (This bar didn’t have the ID scanners that could easily prove our ID’s validity.)
We fill out the forms and she copies our driver’s licenses, and finally we get our beers.
“This must be embarrassing for you,” said an older man a couple of seats away. “The first round should be on them.”
Between examining our IDs for a long time, questioning us, having us fill out forms and photocopying our IDs, it was a little embarrassing. I felt like all eyes were on us and I wondered if people thought we were actually underage or if they just felt bad for us like the older man did. It was more frustrating than embarrassing though because I knew our IDs were real and we had every right to be served.
Cheers to finally getting our beers.