FILL IN THE BLANK with your favorite Department of Driver Services’ horror story.

ddsWe’ve all heard and told them. The plots feature faceless bureaucracies, prison-grey facilities, long lines, sullen clerks, indecipherable instructions, and gleeful denials. A trip to the DDS office competes with a tax audit, root canal, kidney stones, back spasms, and an in-law visit.

However, my wife and I recently moved to Atlanta; and our motor vehicles expired on our upcoming birthdays.

To add insult to injury, the state required us to physically visit a office to obtain a new Secure ID driver license. This involves presenting several forms of personal identification that include a birth certificate, Social Security Card, passport, utility bill, or bank statement. I halfway expected someone to demand a DNA sample, pint of blood, and retinal scan as well.

With fear and trembling, we planned a visit to DDS Land. We arrived at the downtown Atlanta location at 400 Whitehall Street SW a bit early. The new facility featured a gated, well lit parking lot. A typical assortment of humanity waited in line for the 7:30 a.m. opening.

At 7:30 on the dot, the doors opened and a security guard cheerfully welcomed each patron. Since we had completed our forms online, a young lady helpfully directed us to a kiosk where pushing a few screens generated a number in line.

My bottom barely touched the chair before an electronic voice called B-104 to Station 15. I walked warily up to the counter where a clerk named Pamela greeted me with a smile.

Following a review of my paperwork, she clicked a few buttons, checked my eyesight, and asked me to smile for the camera. After swiping my credit card, I received a temporary license and . . . I WAS DONE.

Total time in the DDS: 15 minutes start to finish!

To recap: secure parking, new facility, cheerful security guard, helpful attendant, professional clerk, efficient process, and happy clients.

Maybe others have DDS horror stories to tell. However, my fairy tale visit began: Once upon a time; and it ended: And they lived happily ever after.

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