OPN-MND on the Road & Beyond

Dec 31, 2018

The commonwealth of Virginia is number one in the nation in vanity license plates. You know, those sometimes cryptic, often funny but always intriguing, 7 -character mobile messages to the world, you see on the cars ahead of you? Robbie Harris caught up with a guy whose license plate she’d seen, while driving around Blacksburg and she asked him about why he chose his. 

A mobile reminder to keep an open mind
Credit Dan Owens

Dan Owen is a Realtor in Roanoke who lives in Blacksburg. And there’s probably no one who was more into it, when Virginia first offered those now ubiquitous, personalized plates.

“When the (Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles) first gave us the opportunity to get a personal tag I said, “O.K. I’ve got to think of something!”

Owen didn’t just go with his first whim.  He thought about what to put on his plate for a whole year.

“It was the middle of the night, 2:00 a.m. I woke up, ‘all right, I got it!’ I was so scared that I wouldn’t get it because it’d been a year since people could do that.”

The very next morning, Dan’s at the DMV, ordering these letters for his license plate: O-P-N_ M-N-D.

“My son says, ‘Dad, what’s ‘AHPPINN MEND?’ He was bout 7 years old. So, I told him to keep thinking about it, and he did.”

This was around 30 years ago, before so many former abbreviations became words of their own, but why was it so important for Dan Owen’s, back bumper to read ‘Open Mind?

He says it came out of his circle of friends, getting together to have a few beers now and then, “And, we’re trying to decide what life is all about what religion is all about, what politics is all about.  There was so much confusion, not like now, it was a different kind of confusion.  And I kept running into people who would not open their minds.  They just weren’t going to do it. So, I thought, I something has got to be done about that.”   

So, he did something about it.

‘OPN_MND’ has been on the back of 6 of his cars so far.