By Cho Jae-hyon
After how many failed attempts do you finally call it a day and resign yourself to the fact you may never pass that dreaded written driving test?
Well, for one determined 68-year-old grandma, the answer may well have been never. And her apparent grit paid off. For Cha Sa-soon finally got her hands on a pass certificate, Wednesday ― on her 950th attempt.
Cha, a vendor who sells vegetables at a traditional market in Wanju, North Jeolla Province, just made the cut-off line of 60 points, after 949 failures,
She has been taking the exam since April 13, 2005, the date of her first failed attempt.
Her 950 tries represent the longest record at the Jeonbuk Driver's License Agency in the southwestern city, officials said.
Cha's efforts saw her take the written exam almost every day, except weekends and holidays. She had obtained scores of 30 to 50 every time, below the 60 necessary to pass.
And the repeated failures made her a celebrity at the agency. "She is really famous here. Not only agency employees but even some test takers know her. Her challenging spirit is really amazing," an official said.
Now all she has to do is surmount the challenge of the practical test, and she'll be ready to hit the road.
So why was she so determined to get a driver's license? Cha said she needs the mobility it would bring to earn a living, and wants to sell vegetables and daily necessities on the move.
"It was so embarrassing because I kept failing and I've kept it a secret from my neighbors. But I couldn't give in because I've exerted so much efforts on it so far," she told Yonhap News.
Every application for the test cost 6,000 won, meaning she spent more than 5 million won ($4,200). If bus fares and meal costs are included, her total expenses exceed 10 million won, Cha said.
Applicants can obtain a driver's license only after passing the written exam and then the practical driving test.
She expects the latter to be easier and plans to register with a private driving school.