After years of not being able to fit her last name on her driver's license, Janice Keihanaikukauakahihuliheekahaunaele (or "Long-named US woman," as the BBC put it) was able to convince the Hawaiian government to allow for names with more than 35 characters on its driver's licenses and ID cards. Today, she got her new license with her first name and full last name for the first time since she married her husband (who went by just Keihanaikukauakahihuliheekahaunaele) in 1992.
After her husband died, it was more important than ever for Keihanaikukauakahihuliheekahaunaele to keep his name, though she had to carry two IDs to be able to do so. Her driver's license only had the first 35 letters of her last name, while a state ID was able to accommodate her entire name. But then, in May, her state ID expired and the replacement looked just like her driver's license, leaving her without an ID that had her first name or full last name on it.
When a local newscast publicized Keihanaikukauakahihuliheekahaunaele's struggle (and its anchor pronounced it like an absolute pro, while NPR and the BBC chickened out and either used KHON's audio or had Keihanaikukauakahihuliheekahaunaele say it herself), the government figured out a way to fit last names of up to 40 characters, middle names of up to 35 and first names of up to 40 on its IDs.
But Keihanaikukauakahihuliheekahaunaele's quest is not finished, the AP says. She's now set her sights on the federal government: Social Security cards only allow for last names of up to 26 characters.
And if you'd like to hear how Keihanaikukauakahihuliheekahaunaele is pronounced, here's KHON2's take:
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.