First Person Singular: Rusty Moore Owner/Instructor, Greg's Driving School Mount Airy, Md.

(Benjamin C. Tankersley)
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Sunday, October 12, 2008

One year I had this lady; she was about 73 years old. She kept calling to try to sign up. She was scared. She would call me [with] questions every other day. It took us a year. My wife probably thought we were having an affair after a while. But she would do things like come up to a green light and hit her brake. I said, "You cannot hit your brake at a green light." She said, "It might turn red." She was frustrating the heck out of me. Every time I told her what to do, she would do it fine. But when I shut up and told her to just do it [on her own], she'd mess it up every single time. One day I said: "That's it. We're going up to the MVA [Motor Vehicle Administration] to get your license." She said: "No, no. You saw me. I can't do it." I said: "You can do it. Even if you fail, at least you know what the test is about."

So we got up to the MVA, and she goes through the course and does it perfect. Absolutely perfect and gets her license. [Later] she asks me what kind of car she should get. I gave her a few examples, and she ended up buying a Toyota Camry. So I get a phone call from her a year later. She said, "Hey, Rusty, remember that Toyota Camry that I bought?" I said, "Yeah, I remember." She said: "It's still in the garage; I've never driven it. You think you could give me a lesson in my own car just one time?" I said, "Sure, I'll give you a lesson." All she really wanted to do was go to the grocery store and back.

A lot of people say, "You must have nerves of steel to do this job." I tell them, "No, I have a brake on my side." That kid may think they're driving, but I'm driving. If they're not going to stop, I'm going to stop them. So should I be scared? Absolutely not. Now, a parent that can only hold on to the door and put their foot through the floor, they should be scared.

Interview by Robin Rose Parker .

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