A Florida woman took her children to Disney World for a fun weekend, but was denied service at the hotel. When she asked why she was not allowed to stay there, she was shocked by the response. Now, the mother is taking legal action.
Tammy Lemasters was denied service at Disney World and when she asked why, she was told it was because her driver's license listed her as a sexual predator, the New York Daily News reports. She was shocked by the revelation, as she has no history of any such crime.
"I was afraid to drive in my car," Lemasters told The Associated Press. "I was afraid of getting pulled over. I was afraid of the kids being in the car."
Lemasters is now planning to file a lawsuit against the Lake County Tax Collector's office for defamation after she says a computer glitch caused the phrase "sexual predator" to be printed on her license, according to the Daily News.
"It reminds me of the book, 'The Scarlet Letter,'" said Lemasters' attorney John Phillips. "She walked around with that on her license, not knowing where it had been reported. This is completely, completely avoidable by just putting in some sort of default on the computer."
Phillips says an office clerk had checked off "yes" for "sexual predator" rather than "organ donor" while filling out forms on a computer.
"That's just preposterous," Phillips, who is also representing three others in the state who have had the same thing happen to them, said. "I'd be willing to bet it's happened hundreds of hundreds of times."
The error caused Lemasters to be denied service from a hotel and detained at Disney World for three hours, according to the Orlando Sentinel. The mother and her fiancé told employees at Disney World that the stamp was a mistake, but were held while employees contacted the authorities regardless.
The manager of the Lake County Tax Collector's office David Jordan said the issue was due to a human error from a "top-notch" worker, the Daily News reports.
"We made a mistake. Period," Jordan said. "We feel horrible. It totally stinks it happens. Everybody involved feels terrible. We offer our apologies. We offered it immediately."
Lemasters says she didn't notice the stamp on her ID and didn't think to check for a mark identifying her as a sexual predator.
"They asked me to check my name and address, and that's what I checked," she said, the Orlando Sentinel reports. "The sexual-predator box is in the lower corner, and she had her finger there. I just took it and put it in my wallet. No one checks for 'sexual predator' on your license."
Phillips says the goal of Lemasters' lawsuit is not to be paid, but rather to prevent the problem from happening to others.He says that if the agency agrees to make changes in its system to prevent the problem from reoccurring, the lawsuit will not be filed.