Woman takes 960 attempts to obtain a license at 69 - costly journey costs thousands of dollars

Friday, 02/02/2024, 15:03 (GMT+7)

Discover the incredible journey of Mrs. Cha Sa-soon, who took 960 driving tests to obtain her license. A tale of perseverance and inspiration.

An old woman from Korea had to take the test 960 times, spend hundreds of millions, and spend up to 5 years to get a driver's license at the age of 69.

Mrs. Cha Sa-soon inspires people all over the world

Living in Sinchon village, located approximately 180 kilometers from Seoul, Mrs. Cha Sa-soon underwent a challenging and arduous path to secure her driver's license.

It is a tale that has earned her legendary status in Korea even after more than a decade since she achieved her remarkable feat.

It's been more than 10 years since Mrs. Cha Sa-soon got her driver's license but this is still a legend in Korea. Her story was re-shared on Reddit and became an inspiration for people everywhere in the world. 

Cha Sa-soon's arduous journey to get a driver's license

Woman takes 960 attempts to obtain a license at 69 - costly journey costs thousands of dollars 1
Cha Sa-soon had to take the driver’s license test 960 times before she passed (Source: New York Post)

Her extraordinary journey began in April 2005 when she decided to take the driving test and failed. Despite initial failures, Mrs. Sa-soon remained resolute, displaying a determination that would come to define her inspiring quest. She took the test diligently, every day of the week for three consecutive years, a staggering display of dedication. Her perseverance paid off when, on her 860th attempt, she finally passed the theory test.

However, the practical exam continues to be a challenge. Mrs. Sa-soon had to retake the exam 10 times.

Mrs. Cha Sa-soon patiently passed the exams

After 960 times (both theory and practice), Ms. Sa-soon finally passed the 961st attempt. She ended her driving test journey in 2010, at the age of 69.

Mrs. Sa-soon's story did not remain confined to the borders of her village. It quickly spread throughout South Korea, transforming her into a local celebrity. Her tale resonated deeply with individuals facing their own struggles in obtaining a driver's license, inspiring them to persevere in the face of adversity.

According to the New York Times, Sa-soon, who is now in her 80s, didn't allow anything to stop her from resolutely taking the written test every day for three consecutive years, five days a week.

Woman takes 960 attempts to obtain a license at 69 - costly journey costs thousands of dollars 2
Cha Sa Soon was very happy to have a driver's license (Source: NYT)

Things didn’t stop there. Next up are two driving skill and road tests. However, she failed each of them four times in a row, but she persisted and eventually got her driver's license.

Mrs. Cha Sa-soon paid a large amount of money to pass the exam

Undeterred by the obstacles she encountered, Mrs. Sa-soon exhibited unwavering dedication. Each weekday, for three consecutive years, she diligently sat for the written test, refusing to give up. Despite failing the driving skill and road tests on multiple occasions, she never faltered in her pursuit of the license. Reports indicate that she spent over 5 million won (around $4,200 USD) in her relentless pursuit, a testament to her unwavering commitment.

The teachers are happy because she finally passed the exam

The grandma took driving lessons at the Jeonbunk Driving School, and all of her patient instructors assisted her in celebrating when she eventually passed her tests.

Woman takes 960 attempts to obtain a license at 69 - costly journey costs thousands of dollars 3
Her driving instructors said it was a relief when she finally passed (Source: New York Post)

According to Park Su-yeon, a driving school instructor, "When she finally got her license, we all went out in cheers and hugged her, giving her flowers," she recalled in an interview with the Times in 2010.

"It was like a great weight had been lifted off our shoulders. Because she continued coming, we lacked the fortitude to ask her to go.

The story of Mrs. Cha Sa-soon attracted Hyundai

The story of Mrs. Sa-soon's remarkable achievement even caught the attention of Hyundai, a prominent car company. Impressed by her tenacity, Hyundai presented her with a car valued at $16,800. In addition, she had the unique opportunity to feature in a popular commercial for the automotive giant.

Despite her recognition and accolades, Mrs. Sa-soon remained grounded and humble. As a means of sustaining her livelihood, she sold her home-grown vegetables and recognized the importance of acquiring a driver's license to maintain her business.

When asked about her unwavering determination, she simply expressed her desire to be able to drive her grandson to the zoo, emphasizing the significance of family and the joy of simple pleasures.