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UPDATE: State denies FART
The license plate that won over the hearts of thousands is officially being recalled by the DMV. But it's not going away.
Early last week, the North Carolina Rabbit Hole brought you the story of Karly Sindy of Asheville, who requested, and received, a specialized FART license plate for her truck. She ordered it last October, received it in November (to her great astonishment), and drove around with it for three months, getting second looks and sparking great conversations along the way. Last month, someone complained about the plate to the NCDMV, which told her she had to remove the plate unless she could make a convincing case to keep it. So, on the same day she received the letter, Sindy went to Reddit to ask what to do. A few redditors had suggestions, and by noon, Sindy had created a website for an organization named the Friends of Asheville Recreational Trails. They held their very first meeting that night. Fifteen people showed up. Soon after, people made logos, and the story got a ton of media coverage. Sindy herself ended up on Jimmy Kimmel Live! to plead her case to America. She also mailed an appeal to the DMV, saying FART the plate represented F.A.R.T. the hiking group.
Well, it turns out that Sindy won’t be able to keep the plate on her truck after all. Yesterday afternoon, she got a call from the NCDMV saying her appeal was denied.
“Ms. Sindy will not be able to keep the plate on her vehicle,” NCDOT spokesman Marty Honan said in an email to the Rabbit Hole. “The text has been on our unapproved list for some time and should not have been issued.”
But! “We are going to let her keep the plate as a commemorative token (not on her vehicle),” Honan wrote. Normally, the state requests that offending plates be returned and destroyed.
In a way, the plate was always going to live on. After the initial burst of publicity, Sindy sold stickers and t-shirts featuring the FART license plate and various community-designed F.A.R.T. logos. All of the proceeds from those is going to benefit Read to Succeed Asheville, and so far, F.A.R.T. fans have raised hundreds of dollars for that organization. The club itself is holding its second meeting on Sunday at Richmond Hill Park in Asheville. Even though the plate is gone, the FART will linger. “I didn’t just go viral in vain,” Sindy says.
This week, the plate was featured in an editorial in the Wilson Times, which argued that FART is actually a free speech issue (literally, you cannot spell “First Amendment” without “FART”). But Karly says she’s not going to take this to court. “I can’t think of a bigger waste of money and resources” she says, laughing.
Already, though, the tongue-in-cheek mourning has begun. (Sindy just posted a goodbye TikTok set to Elton John’s “Candle in the Wind.”) But the plate is not coming off the Taco FART truck just yet. The state normally mails a regular, standard license plate as a replacement, but in this case, she says, they’re sending her an application for a new personalized plate. “That was their effort at humanity,” she says. So, what’s she going to request? “I think PHART would be a good one.”