SOURCE: Derek Brown's Academy of Driving

Derek Brown's Academy of Driving

September 18, 2016 10:55 ET

Calgary Driving School Helps Grandma Attain Her First Driving Permit

CALGARY, AB--(Marketwired - September 18, 2016) - Derek Brown's Academy of Driving is proud to announce that they were featured in a CBC short documentary about local 89-year-old grandmother, Thérèse Fournier. If a person ever felt like it was too late to achieve his or her goals, look no further than her inspiring story. At the age of 86, she decided it was about time she got her driver's license, having lived her life regretting not having one. This was a regret that continued to grow as she entered life's later stages. She decided obtaining her driver's permit must be her last big accomplishment on Earth. With help from her filmmaker granddaughter Dominique Keller, and Calgary driving school Derek Brown's Academy of Driving, she embarked on a journey of three years marked with many difficult setbacks -- all documented skillfully in Keller's short documentary.

These setbacks went beyond simply being at an advanced age. Born in Trois-Rivières Quebec, English is not Thérèse's first language, meaning many common driving terms such as 'merge' were unfamiliar to her. Her ability to use a computer is limited, which made completing the computer based learner's permit test all the more difficult. She had only ever received a grade 8 education. However, Thérèse embodied the phrase 'You've only failed when you've stopped trying' and took the test a full 11 times before attaining a score of 80%, the threshold set by the Alberta government as a passing grade.

And here, her journey was only just beginning. The road test still stood tall as a large barrier between Thérèse and her Class 5 license. To help her along the way, she enlisted in classes at Derek Brown's Academy of Driving, who had complete confidence in Therese from the beginning. "I have every reason to believe that with her attitude and her sincere quest to become not just a good driver, but a very safe driver, I think she will succeed," her classroom instructor tells Keller in the short documentary about Thérèse's journey.

Like many students learning to drive, Derek Brown's started with her putt-putting around a deserted parking lot. However, soon Thérèse was driving herself home in the student car, a proposal that prompted a nervous "Oh my God" when suggested for the first time. Her nerves are apparent at first as she initially had difficulty finding the brake, and at one point nearly drives on the sidewalk. However, with the help of her road instructor at the Calgary driving school, she was soon driving in traffic as skillfully as anyone. Her detailed instruction left her feeling very confident, and when she took her road test, she passed it on her first attempt -- more than making up for her many failed attempts for her learner's permit.

Now, at the age of 89, Thérèse is proud to call herself the owner of an Alberta Class 5 driver's permit, fulfilling a dream that she had worried would never be possible. "I'm having a second chance in life," she says, "I believe I can accomplish things now, that I never thought I could do."

You can watch Dominique Keller's full story about Thérèse online at cbc.ca/shortdocs/.

For more information or to see the video on our site, please go to Derek Brown's Academy of Driving.

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Contact Information

  • For more info contact:
    Sue Beauferris
    Derek Brown's Academy of Driving
    236 - 1830 52 St SE
    Calgary, AB T2B 1N1
    (403) 272-4246
    Email contact