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Take Your Money And Run!

By Staff | May 5, 2009

Recently two of my dear friends, Joyce Brown and Marie Swanson, and I were going down river to have lunch with another friend, Glenna Beatty.

As I was getting ready I decided I’d better check my money. To my surprise my wallet was totally empty. I feared not because I use a debit card quite often.

On our way out of town, we stopped at the drive thru at Progressive Bank so I could get money for the afternoon.

As usual, everything was working fine. Then we discovered I could not reach the money from the back seat. Joyce backed her car so she could get the cash for me. Just as she started to reach for it, the machine made a “swishing sound” and sucked the money back into the machine. Not only did it keep my money, it kept my ATM card, but was kind enough to give me a receipt showing the money had been removed from my account which was still in the Midwest.

To say we were all startled would be an understatement. I have never seen money disappear so quickly. I used to think I could spend it pretty darned fast, but this machine put me to shame.

Joyce and Marie were quiet for the first time since our outing had started. We were not even out of town, and a bank had stolen $200 of my money, again leaving me penniless.

I finally said, well, let me go inside and see what this mess is.

Joyce had to drive around the bank again so I could go inside to see if I could retrieve my money.

As I entered the front door I saw the women working there watching me. Apparently the ATM had made a sound of some sort that things had gone amiss. A very nice woman walked up to the window inside the bank to see how she could help me. When I told her she could start by giving me back the $200 the ATM ate and that I would also appreciate getting my card back, she apologized and said, “No problem.” She and another woman went to the room that obviously opened the back of the machine. She came back smiling, handed me my card, and the $200. Thinking it was all completed; I thanked them and took one step back. Then the woman said, “Please wait, we need you to sign a statement saying you did get the money.” I didn’t know it at the time, but another woman was reporting this to their ATM headquarters. The women did seem a bit startled. This had never happened in their bank before, but it had never happened to me either. Very quickly the first woman who had handed me the money rushed back to the window and said very nicely, “Sorry, we can’t give you the money, as she held out her hand to take back my $200.” Apparently the woman on the phone had learned that the money might not have been removed from my account in Kansas. Therefore, I would have received my $200 with no withdrawals, even if the receipt showed it had been deducted at once. She did give me back my card, but it has a withdraw limit per day, so it was totally useless for the rest of the day.

In my quandary, I thanked them and started to leave. Then thinking why had I thanked them, they just messed up my day, one woman said, “Oh, we do need to take a copy of your driver’s license.” It was then I remembered I’d left my purse in Joyce’s car.” The woman suggested we just go thru the drive in again, and I could give her my license.

Of course with my attitude of looking to the brighter side of life, I had laughed at all this mess while I was trying to use an ATM as I had so many times. I proceeded to go back to the car, explain that I was still penniless, but had already spent $200. My friends were surprised at my sad story.

As usual, I played it to the hilt, saying I would go on to lunch with them, I just wouldn’t eat anything. I had put on my best sad puppy face as I told this. Almost at the same time, Joyce and Marie said we will buy your lunch. I played along again, and said, “Oh, it’s okay, I am not really hungry anyway.”

By this time, we were starting back through the drive in window. The smiling woman, who had just taken back my money, was waiting to make a copy of my license. She again said how sorry they were about the mess but it would get cleared up in a few days. As she handed back my license, she handed me a Dum Dum sucker, and said she hoped this would help-thinking it really should since it had just cost me $200 and was called Dum Dum.

We left the bank then with instructions to call my bank in Kansas the following Monday to verify it had been taken out of my account. If it had been, the Progressive Bank would return that $200 to me.

Laughing most of the way down river over the incidence of the bank stealing money, rather than a person stealing money in a bank hold up, we said, “Yes, could only happen to me.”

I made the call to my bank the next Monday to find out if the modern day technology had corrected this error.

Of course nothing had changed on the records; it still showed the money had been taken out.

Next in this saga of bank stealing, I called Progressive Bank reporting the news. I was told,”Okay, come back that day and they would give me my $200.” I laughed and said no way! Since I was told it might be corrected in a few days at my bank in Kansas, then I would have to return the money to this bank again.

The following week nothing had changed according to my account. So I decided to go back there and get my money.

As I entered the bank the wonderful women who had tried their best to make this a simple process all started laughing.

Holding the small sucker in my hand, I asked if I could have my money back now. Of course it was given back to me.

And I even got to keep that expensive sucker.

In a situation that could have upset many people, I felt I had had a wonderful laugh and provided one for everyone involved.

But we all learned a valuable lesson. Never leave your cash in an ATM more than a few seconds. The machine will retrieve the money, and you will have this same experience of waiting on your money. Just take your money and run!