Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Impromptu IDs

Daily Mail [Charleston, West Virginia]
28 January 2008

Mayor without license uses magazine as ID

by Matthew Thompson
Daily Mail staff

A recent trip to California turned into a tense situation for Charleston Mayor Danny Jones.

Jones was detained for a short time at John Wayne Airport in Orange County after trying to use an expired driver's license to board the plane.

He had to flip open a copy of a locally produced magazine, with his picture inside identifying him as the mayor of Charleston, before officials would finally let Jones fly back home. [...]

[The above report belongs to the category of Impromptu IDs. Here are some similar items. -- bc]

John Train, True Remarkable Occurrences. NY: Clarkson N. Potter, Inc., 1978, p. 56.

NEW YORK -- Sharon Mitchell, heroine of the X-rated Captain Lust, was having trouble cashing a check in a New York bank because she was not carrying a driver's license or any other identification.

She was carrying a magazine in which she appeared in the nude. She handed over the magazine, hitched her sweater up to her chin, and arranged herself in the same pose.

They cashed her check. -- London Sunday Telegraph Magazine.

[See also <>.]

Times of London
18 June 2002

Letters to the Editor

Proof positive

Sir, In 1903 Caruso made his debut at the Metropolitan Opera House, New York. One story goes that in trying to cash a cheque at a nearby bank he was frustrated by the teller's insistence on proof of identity (letters, May 22, 23 and 25; June 1 and 8).

Irritated, Caruso sang at him. He got his money.

Yours faithfully,
Bancroft Park,
Little Abington, Cambridge CB1 6BQ.
June 14.


Post-Courier [Papua New Guinea]
29 July 2002


CHIEF Somare has an ID problem in PNG. He can't go anywhere without being recognised. But when he strolled into a bank in Brisbane recently, it was the opposite. The teller wanted to see some ID. The Chief dug out a K50 note, the one with his whiskered features on it. Bank teller slumps back in his little cubicle and relents. It was possibly the first time he had come face to face with a man whose own face was on the money he was exchanging.

Sydney Morning Herald
31 July 2002

Column 8

Mal Booth, ex-Cremorne, now of Palo Alto, is not so sure about the story of Michael Somare identifying himself with a PNG K50 note bearing his face (Column 8, Tuesday). "When I worked in Brunei, a similar story was told about the Sultan of Brunei on a visit to London. He tried to use a credit card in a shop, but they wanted photo ID. A minder produced a Brunei dollar with the Sultan's face on it, and the card was accepted. An urban legend?"

Sydney Morning Herald
1 Aug 2002

Column 8

The Somare/Brunei story in which the subject uses his face on his country's currency to identify himself (Column 8, yesterday) may be an urban myth (or, as Gordon Pelletier, of Artarmon, suggests for the Sultan of Brunei, a turban myth). But some of this is as true as when we ran it in 1995, and thanks to Rob McCusker, of Balmain for reminding us about it.

Alex Stanimirovitch, of Wangaratta, at Copenhagen Airport, tried to make a purchase with a new Australian $20 note, but the vendor was suspicious and called police. Then from behind Alex came a voice (he says): "Excuse me, that's real, and see the signature here." The stranger matched the signature on the note with his passport signature - Bernie Fraser, then governor of the Reserve Bank. So Bernie reckons he was there but didn't intervene - but heck, it's a great story, isn't it?

Sydney Morning Herald
2 Aug 2002

Column 8

We have another urban myth. There was some doubt expressed when we told the story of Michael Somare identifying himself in a Brisbane bank, using a PNG 50 kina note bearing his face (Column 8, Tuesday), and then a similar story came about the Sultan of Brunei. Then it was Bernie Fraser, governor of the Reserve Bank (Column 8, yesterday) identifying his signature on a $20 note. And since then we've heard of Nugget Coombs, also governor, using a currency note bearing his signature to cash a cheque, and the same story was told about the secretary to the Treasury, Sir Roland Wilson, only he was stopped for speeding in the ACT. His identity was challenged, so he whipped out a 10 shilling note with his signature. We also hear that Sir Edmund Hillary was stopped in New Zealand while driving, and showed the traffic policeman a $5 note bearing his picture. Yet to come - Mary Reibey flashing a $20 note?


The Sun [UK]
2 Sept 2002

Face on record says Paul

PASSENGER Paul Lynch stunned airport security staff when he proved his identity by showing them the cover of a Guinness Book of Records.

Paul, 39, did not have any photo ID with him when he checked in at Stansted for a no-frills Go flight to Edinburgh.

But he is the record holder for single-figure press-ups. And the cover of the 1996 edition of the famous book clearly shows him doing his amazing feat. He is named inside.

Paul from Northern Ireland, who now lives in Balham, South West London, said last night: "The check-in girl laughed when I opened the book and showed her the reference to my record.

"She agreed it was me and contacted a supervisor who said I could fly." [...]

Peter Hay, The Book of Business Anecdotes. New York: Wings Books, 1993 [1988], p. 27.

In the nineteenth century, an American bank cashier named Foster was presented with a check by a strange man.

"I wished him to be identified," the teller recounted, "and he said it was impossible, as he had no acquaintances in the city, and the man seemed quite disappointed. Suddenly a happy thought presented itself to him, and he began to unbutton his vest and pull up his shirt, remarking that it was all right, he had got his name on his shirt flap. It was such a novel idea, and the check being for a small amount, I concluded to pay, and he went away happy."


The Dispatch [Gilroy, CA]
7 March 2006

Man uses Most Wanted photo as ID

Gilroy - A man loitering outside D-Mart pulled out the Dispatch's Most Wanted section when police asked him for identification Sunday.

Cesar Montoya, 19, who was captured by Gilroy Police on a $15,000 warrant for possession of a controlled substance last month - but was released on bail - was standing outside D-Mart with a two other men when police approached.

According to Sgt. Wes Stanford, after an officer questioned who they were Montoya pulled out an old Dispatch Most Wanted list he had cut out.

"I'm Cesar Montoya," he said, pointing to his mug shot, police said. "'See, that's me.'"

According to police, Montoya was using the information from the Most Wanted list as his form of identification since he does not have one.

The New Yorker, 15 March 1952, p. 26.


A Princeton lady shopper at Macy's, short of money in the late afternoon, asked a clerk if he would cash a small check for her so she could take the 5:05 home. He called the section manager, who asked her if she had any identification. After rummaging in her bag, she said no. Then she had a thought. She pulled a book from under her arm and said, "But look, I'm reading Trollope. Will that do?" The section manager was a Princeton man. He reached for his wallet and cashed the check, which did not bounce.

The New Yorker, 18 Feb 1961, p. 33.

The Test

A young woman we know who teaches English at a college upstate was in town recently on a shopping mission. Having made a large purchase of books at a local store, she reached for her checkbook to pay for it. The clerk informed her that he could not accept a check from an unfamiliar customer. Then, seeing that she was deeply disappointed, the clerk asked her what she did. "I teach college English," she answered, with new hope. "Where was T. S. Eliot born?" the clerk asked. "In St. Louis, Missouri," our friend answered immediately. He took her check.

The New Yorker, 30 July 1979, p. 50.


Anthony Bailey

[Henry Geldzahler, New York City Commissioner of Cultural Affairs, is one of painter David Hockney's best friends.] Once, in London, when Geldzahler wanted to cash a check, Hockney drew a sketch of him to introduce him to the local bank manager, who took the drawing as evidence of good character and cashed the check. [...]


Time magazine
30 April 1979


[...] Talk about embarrassing moments. There was Treasury Secretary Michael Blumenthal in San Francisco's tony Beethoven's restaurant with a hefty dinner bill, an expired Visa card and a waiter demanding extra identification for an out-of-state bank check. Blumenthal solved his predicament uniquely: producing a dollar bill, he invited the waiter to match the check signature against the neat W M Blumenthal inscribed on the greenback's lower right-hand corner. [...]