After 271 failures, the 272nd attempt's a charm. A 70-year-old farmer in a rural village in North Gyeongsang Province has finally passed the formally written section of his driver's license examination on the 272nd attempt. The North Gyeongsang Provincial Police Agency's Driver's License Examination Office in Mungyeong announced Thursday that Seo Sang-moon, who had applied for the academic part of the examination 272 times since August 2000, passed the examination conducted Tuesday afternoon.
Seo reminisced, "Being a repairman traveling around North Gyeongsang and Gangwon provinces, the driver's license was a necessity, but I did not dare apply for the written examination because I am illiterate. Only after 2000, with the introduction of the oral exam, was I able to apply."
Since then, Seo came and went between Gangwon and North Gyeongsang Province to take the oral exam carried out twice a month, and finally made it to the cut line of 60 points (out of 100 points) on the examination taken Tuesday for the Class 2 driver's license. In total, he had failed the exam 271 times, and paid more than W1 million (about US$1,000) just in application fees.
"Because of old age, I quit fixing houses and began farming, but it aroused my spirit of resilience, and I really wanted to get my driver's license," said Seo. He added, "The encouragement from my son, who's a policeman in Seoul, gave me much strength."
The Driver's License Examination Office in Mungyeong prepared a lucky key chain for Seo as a congratulatory present. Examination chief Lieutenant Kim Chee-young said, "Most give up after failing 20-30 times. But the elderly Seo has been coming to the examination office so often that we've been like family for the last five years."
Meanwhile, Seo is attending a driving school in Yeongju City preparing for the road test. Overjoyed, he said, "I am confident about the road test. I'm already discussing with my wife which car we should buy."