Today, Friday, October 17th, 2014 at approximately 9 am, a motorist came into the Bronx Department of Motor Vehicles Traffic Violations Bureau to get an appointment for a summons.
He told the judge he had “returned from Africa” and that he was “feeling ill for the last 6 days”...
After he left, one or two clerks were taking common sense precautions and wearing blue latex gloves and disinfecting the room with what appeared to be an all purpose cleaner.
By the end of the day approximately half of the staff was wearing the fashionable blue latex gloves.
Room #1 was closed off to the public (Rumor has it that the police officers that would have worked in the room later in the day didn’t want to appear there for hearings forcing the closure. Other rumors circulated that the staff was investigating which officers had been in the room earlier during the time the motorist was in the room.).
When a motorist misses an appointment or wants to reschedule his case, he usually gets on the general information line and is then sent to "Room 1" where a judge grills him or her and then if an adequate justification is given-- approves a new appointment. Administrative Judges in order to give appointment reschedules usually demand some sort of justification: need to get a witness to appear, for evidence, to hire an attorney, illness, job conflicts, picking up child from school conflicts, etc.
Illness is a fairly common excuse that is given. The question we have to be concerned about today is whether the motorist was just giving a typical excuse (made up, minor illness) or whether he truly was ill? He could be a sneaky livery driver that figured he could just hint at illness along with his country of origin and just get "over" faster and quicker on the system with the judge just giving him a new appointment just to get rid of him quicker.
If the motorist truly was sick and he had indeed just returned from west Africa— Was he being responsible showing up at the Bronx DMV even if there is a small possibility he has the Ebola virus? Do we have a Thomas Eric Duncan in the Bronx? Was this anonymous motorist acting like Typhoid Mary— more worried about his driving license than his health or the health of others around him?
If it really was a "sick motorist" that had returned from a region affected by the ebola virus-- then what are the proper procedures any large institution should follow? Room #1 usually has 100 to 300 motorists come in daily and stand in the same spot in front of the judge as the sick motorist that caused the blue latex glove fashion trend at the DMV today. The Bronx DMV building itself has 3,000 motorist enter and exit on a daily basis. Do you close the room and clean it with an all purpose cleaner? Do you close the entire building? Do you call supervisors in Albany? A local hospital? How do we protect NY police? How do you protect and inform employees as to what are the proper safety steps are? Fire drills? Crazy gun owner drill? Biological virus drill anyone?
Is this unjustified panic? The motorist according to accounts said “Africa,” not a specific region of Africa or one of the specific countries affected by the Ebola virus. Just another day of drama at "Da" Bronx DMV...
If you were a motorist exiting the parking lot of the Bronx Department of Motor Vehicles today, the parking lot attendant collected the parking fee and handed over your change while wearing the same blue latex gloves that DMV personal had during the day.
Post Mortem: Monday, October 20th, 2014-- The blue latex gloves are gone. Room #1 is open to the public and processing cases like any typical day. The Bronx DMV is back to normal: an efficient institution processing hundreds of drivers with traffic tickets, cars being registered, ID's renewed...
To find out more about the ebola virus and educate yourself, check out the wiki link by clicking here: