For trips across the US-Canada border, especially those done as a group or as a tour, the biggest pain of the entire trip is usually the time spent at the mercy of United States Customs and Border Protection agents. (Biases aside, probably not so much with Canadian customs.)
In this odd case for a Montreal man, Martin Reisch was able to do what normally would be impossible (or illegal) - enter the United States using a scanned copy of his passport stored on his iPad.
According to the BBC, Mr. Reisch was en route from Montreal to Vermont, when he realized at the border that he forgot his passport. Figuring it was worth a shot, he handed the iPad and his drivers license to the border agent while explaining his intent to deliver Christmas presents to relatives in Vermont.
Mr. Reisch states the scanned passport was done as a backup resort in case it was lost during his trips. Fortunately in this case, the agent let him off the hook, as Mr. Reisch claims:
He took the iPad into the little border hut. He was in there a good five, six minutes. It seemed like an eternity. When he came back, he took a good long pause before wishing me a Merry Christmas.
Canadian agents also let him back into Canada upon his return. With this humbling experience behind him, Mr. Reisch plans to double check for his passport before departing from Canada. As for the agents on both sides of the border, one can hope this bit of leniency won't cost them their jobs.
Mr. Reisch also hopes for digital devices to be accepted forms of identification upon crossing a border. A use for near-field communication in phones, perhaps?
Thanks artnada for the tip!