All expenses paid trip to USA clean license required

The best holiday Tim had ever been on was two weeks in Greece with two of his friends when he was a student. He partied until the early hours, got drunk stayed in bed till mid day went to the beach and started all over again. No longer a student, now a social worker, Tim had a dream to drive across the USA. He would need assistance, for a start he couldn't drive nor could he dress himself or put his legs on and he needed help to go to the toilet. He had money so he advertised for a personal assistant. Rachael seemed perfect she was young, she could drive, they had the same taste in music, she had always wanted to go to America and she had worked as a nursing assistant. 

The hire car was big and very comfortable. Rachael had never driven an automatic before but she quickly got the hang of it slipping it into cruise control and relaxing back into the soft leather seats. Away from the cities the traffic flowed freely on the multi lane highways. They stopped at motels on route and ate at road side restaurants taking detours to places of interest. Two weeks into the holiday and despite being in each other's company every day all day they still found things to talk about. Tim did think that some of the things that Rachael said and the stories she told about work made her seem a little immature for her age. 

They spent a night at a place about 50 miles from the Mexican boarder. They had no plans to cross the border and the car hire people had been very clear that under no circumstances should they take the car into Mexico. After a few drinks Rachael suggested that they should spend the next day in Mexico. To come all this way and not go to Mexico when it was so near and when would she ever get the chance again. Tim wasn't keen but Rachael seemed very excited. Tim reminded her that they couldn't take the car across the border. No problem said Rachael we drive to the boarder park the car and take the bus across, spend the day and get the bus back.

Next day despite Tim's lack of enthusiasm they drove to the boarder, it was busy with several lines of traffic. Whether Rachael missed the signs on purpose or by mistake as she later claimed but they found themselves in a line of traffic queuing to cross the border. It would have been difficult to turn round, they could have crossed and immediately come back but despite Tim's protests Rachel drove through saying we're here now.

They stopped for some lunch and souvenir shopping at the small town just inside the boarder. Driving away from the parking lot they were stopped by a police car. Whether it was the USA plates or the fact that it was a hirer car it was never clear why they were pulled over but the officer asked for the hirer car agreement and spotted straight away that the car was not insured to drive in Mexico. They explained it was a mistake and the officer seemed sympathetic. He said they had to follow him to the police station where they would fill out the paper work necessary to take the car back across the border. Tim thought this might be one occasion when his disability might get him sympathetic treatment. He was therefore surprised on arriving at the police station to be taken to a cell. Two hours later he was interviewed by the same officer who informed him he had been arrested, that driving without insurance was a serious offence and that as this was a Saturday and he was a flight risk he would have to remain in custody until his court hearing on Monday, unless he pleaded guilty and paid the fine in cash today. Now Tim is not sure even to this day whether this was an on the spot fine or a shakedown but he the sum demanded was astronomical. He refused. He was left in the cell for three hours. Afraid he would have to spend the night in the cells, hungry, thirsty and in urgent need of the toilet he was again asked if he wanted to pay the fine. The officer took him to a cash point and Tim with drew the maximum cash and handed it over. Returning to the police station, forms were completed and Tim used his credit card to pay for some very expensive weekend car insurance. The officer then escorted Tim and Rachael to the boarder. 
The remaining days of the holiday were awkward. It was a tense flight home.
Blair McPherson ex social worker, former director author and blogger 


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