The notary agent with a front-row seat to the economy's ups and downs – Marketplace APM

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Legal paperwork is required for nearly everything that happens in this economy, whether it’s buying a home, starting a business, or filing for divorce. And there’s an entire industry dedicated to making sure those documents are correctly completed.
For 17 years, Violet O’Brien has worked as a self-employed mobile notary and independent signing agent in Houston, Texas. She drives nearly 40,000 miles a year to meet her clients with their paperwork, often at pivotal moments in their lives.
In her work, O’Brien has witnessed the aftermath of the 2008 housing crash, multiple divorces and even met clients on their death beds to notarize their will and testament. But she’s also been there for joyous times, like adoptions. She has three adopted children of her own.
“My name is Violet O’Brien. I am a mobile notary and independent signing agent in Houston, Texas.
“I would say probably 75% of the time I go to people’s houses. I meet people at Starbucks a lot, in restaurants or just wherever they happen to be. That’s why you hire a mobile notary, so that they come to you instead of you having to go to them.
“During the housing crisis, when I was listening to all these terrible stories about how people were losing their jobs and losing their homes, we were busy. It was kind of surprising because I thought, OK, things are going to crash and burn. But they never did.
And [in] Texas we started doing a lot of loans to pay property taxes, those became legal and they just went flying off the shelves. I was extremely busy for several years during those times. There’s always going to be a need for paperwork, whether it’s positive or negative.
“I’ve been doing this most of the time that my children were growing up. And I love the fact that I could always get my kids off to school and not have to worry about getting myself off to work every morning.
“In the beginning, however, I did do a lot of work at night. And sometimes when I was doing all that night work, I’d have to pack them into the Suburban and bring them with me. We had movies and Happy Meals and they learned to just troop along with me.
“My favorite thing to do is adoptions. Because I have three adopted children, I understand the importance of the moment. The baby doesn’t understand it yet, but you might be surprised to know that most of the time those occasions are extremely happy occasions. There are also witnesses required for that. I often use my oldest daughter, who’s 21 now, and she loves coming with me.”
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