Calif. Woman Receives ID Card with Photo of Her in Face Mask: It Was 'Astonishing'

Lesley Pilgrim earned a second trip to the DMV after she mistakenly received a driver's license with a photograph of her wearing a face mask

It's safe to say most people don't look forward to standing in line at the DMV, and this especially rings true during a global pandemic.

That's why Leslie Pilgrim of California wasn't in a rush to visit her local DMV when she had to apply for her REAL ID — a redesigned identification card that will be required by Oct. 1 for anyone hoping to board domestic flights and access certain federal facilities in the United States.

When she finally visited the DMV in Laguna Hills earlier this month, Pilgrim said many people were waiting in line, and social distancing measures were in force.

"They were very strict," she said in an interview with KOVR.

Employees were reminding visitors to keep their masks on, and that's why Pilgrim did not immediately remove hers when she went to take her photo.

"I saw workers working very hard to make sure that people are compliant," she told KNBC. "I resolved in my head, I'm not going to make these people's lives any harder than it needs to be. I'm going to really listen and follow all their instructions."

"I can see how hard they're working just to make sure everyone's safe," she added.

But as she waited for the photographer to tell her to remove her face covering, she instead heard the click of the camera. After noticing the mistake, the photographer then asked Pilgrim to take off the mask for a second picture.

Pilgrim understandably assumed she would receive a new REAL ID driver's license that included the second picture, sans mask, but she was shocked when she realized that was not the case.

"When I first saw the photo, it didn't immediately strike me," she told the outlet of seeing the mask on her ID.

She added to KTTV: "It is a little astonishing to me that, I am assuming it had to go through many phases, and it wasn't flagged in any of those stages."

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While most people don't get to retake their driver's license picture, Pilgrim says the DMV made an exception for her, and she will be going in once again for a new photo. She told KTTV she has no hard feelings about the inconvenience.

"We need to be gracious, forgiving and understanding," she said. "This is just one mistake out of millions and millions of IDs they've issued. They're providing us an essential service, and I'm really grateful for that."

"I think I'll frame this one," Pilgrim added, "keep it and show my kids a sign of the times."

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