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This Man Named Grabher Just Wants His Vanity License Plate Back

The Nova Scotia Department of Transportation took his "GRABHER” plates away.

by Manisha Krishnan
Mar 24 2017, 5:02pm

The Grabher family is proud of its name. That's why Lorne Grabher, a retired corrections officer who lives in Nova Scotia, Canada, is pissed that the province has confiscated his personalized license plate featuring his last name—all because someone complained that it was offensive.

He told the Chronicle Herald he'd been out for Tim Hortons in December when he noticed a woman snapping a photo of his "GRABHER" plate. He didn't think much of it, but on December 6, he received a letter from the director of road safety and registrar of motor vehicles saying his plate was being canceled.

"The reason stated was 'can misinterpret it as a socially unacceptable slogan,'" Grabher wrote in a rant on Facebook. "I feel this is a total abuse of power by Ms. Director of Road Safety! Where does it state that my last name is considered a 'slogan' in the Motor Vehicle Act?"

Grabher, whose family is of German heritage, said that in the 25 years his family has had the plate, there haven't been any problems. He also noted that his son, Troy Grabher, has a GRABHER plate in Alberta, Canada, and hasn't had any problems with it.

In an email to the CBC, a spokesman from the Department of Transportation said a complaint was filed indicating that some see the plate "as misogynistic and promoting violence against women." That interpretation may or may not be related to a phrase a certain US president was caught saying into a hot mic back in 2005. 

On Facebook, the incident has sparked a heated discussion among the Grabhers. Lorne's son, Troy, defiantly updated his cover photo to show two GRABHER plates side by side, while Tracey Grabher wrote, "I've never had anyone impose a derogatory meaning towards my name before this a-hole complained to motor vehicles." She also joked, "I'm still looking for a Hiscock. Tracey Grabher-Hiscock has a nice ring to it."

For now, Lorne Grabher said he's using one of his son's GRABHER plates on the front of his car, but he's holding out hope the province will change its mind.

"I want my plate back. I don't want an apology," he told the Herald. "I don't want to talk to them, I just want my plate back."

Follow Manisha Krishnan on Twitter.