68-Year-Old Woman Finally Passes Driving Test After 960 Attempts

A South Korean woman finally earned her driver’s license at the age of 68 after 960 attempts. In a story that was first reported back in 2010, Cha Sa-soon, who’s now well into her 80s, began trying in earnest to learn to drive when she turned 60, but it would take her a long time to accomplish her goal. Now, her story has gone viral again after being posted in the r/TIL subreddit.

  1. Cha became annoyed with the lack of public transport in her village. Back in April 2005, it became “frustrating” to get anywhere in her village in Sinchon, according to the New York Times. There was one bus that ran every two hours and only one vehicle could travel the road at a time because it was so narrow. Cha decided she needed a license so she could drive herself places.
  2. She always envied people who knew how to drive. When she turned 60, Cha Sa-soon decided it was time to make her dream a reality and learn how to drive. She wanted not only to be able to go wherever she wanted but to take her grandkids out too. “I was too busy raising my four children. Eventually they all grew up and went away and my husband died several years ago, and I had more time for myself. I wanted to get a driver’s license so I could take my grandchildren to the zoo,” she said at the time.
  3. She spent the next five years, and nearly 1,000 attempts, to reach her goal. Estimates claim she spent anywhere from $4,200 to $6,800 over those years. However, she never gave up or stopped believing she could do it, no matter how many times she failed, per Reuters.
  4. She took the test quite a few times. For the first three years, Cha Sa-soon tested once a day, five days a week. For the final two years, she dropped down to two tests per week. The test cost $5 each time, and she used money she earned from selling the vegetables she grew in her garden.
  5. Why did she fail so many times? It likely came down to how she was studying for the written exam. “What she was essentially doing while studying alone was memorizing as many questions with their answers as possible without always knowing what they were all about,” explained Choi Young-chul, an official at the regional driving license agency. “It’s not easy to pass the test that way.”
  6. Finally, in May 2010, she got her license. It was a day of celebration, with diving instructor Park Su-yeon telling the New York Times, “When she finally got her license, we all went out in cheers and hugged her, giving her flowers. It felt like a huge burden falling off our back. We didn’t have the guts to tell her to quit because she kept showing up.”

To make things even better, Hyundai-Kia Autmotive Group heard her storya nd gave her a brand new $16,000 car after she passed. Cha Sa-soon went on to appear in its TV commercials in South Korea, as well. All’s well that ends well, it seems!

Jennifer Still is a writer and editor with more than 10 years of experience. The managing editor of Bolde, she has bylines in Vanity Fair, Business Insider, The New York Times, Glamour, Bon Appetit, and many more. You can follow her on Twitter @jenniferlstill