An interesting start to this morning to be sure.
I needed some cash so dropped into the local Parksville Royal Bank, just before it opened, to withdraw $60 from the ATM.
As I completed the transaction, I noticed the machine spit out a $50 bill on top. I thought it strange because I know ATMs in this neck of the woods don’t dispense $10 bills. So I looked at the next bill and noticed it was also a 50. And there was another 50 beneath that one. So $150 in total… for a $60 withdrawal. A few thoughts went through my mind.
“Someone loaded the $20 bill slot with fifties.”
“Woohoo! Jackpot Baby!”
“What are you doing? You can’t keep this. It’s wrong.”
“Hey, the big banks rip off people all the time with exorbitant fees and make billions of dollars every quarter off the backs of Canadians.”
“Really? Rationalizing keeping money that isn’t yours? Just give back the money.”
That entire exchange took about 1 second and by the time I’d turned around I’d decided to tell the bank about the mistake.
Unfortunately the bank was closed.
So I looked through the glass wall and saw a teller standing some distance away behind a counter. I knocked on the glass and she looked up and said something like, “what do you want?” She was behind glass and quite far away so I couldn’t hear her, but I think that’s what she said.
I responded, “there’s a problem with your ATM.”
She didn’t appear to understand and apparently didn’t see the need to know what I was saying because she just kept saying, “we’re closed.”
At this point, I bashfully admit, I was tempted to just walk out with my windfall and blame it on a lazy bank teller, but I persevered and eventually the teller came over to the other side of the glass where we could hear one another.
So I explained the ATM was giving out fifties for twenties. I wish I had pictures of what transpired next because words cannot adequately describe the scene. The teller’s eyes went wide with comprehension and she immediately turned and started yelling to another lady in the bank.
Then these women, who were both well along in years, took off sprinting to the back of the ATM. If you think old ladies can’t sprint, then I am here to tell you that you are wrong.
These two looked like Bolt and De Grasse dashing for the finish line.
I’m not making this up.
There were literally two old ladies sprinting across a bank in Parksville this morning.
But it gets better.
At about the same time the sprinters were doing their thing, a younger woman entered the bank (I’d say she was in her late 20s). She saw me standing by the glass looking in at the commotion going on in the bank and asked what was happening.
I told her the ATM was handing out more money than it should. Our conversation then went something like…
“You mean it’s giving out free money.”
“Which one? This one?”
At that point this woman, who was standing by the door about 20 feet from the ATM, also turned into Usain bolt and was immediately punching keys on the free-money-ATM. I don’t even recall seeing her walk to the machine. It was like she teleported over there.
In any event, while she was busily hitting keys she turned around and said, “how much did you get?”
“I withdrew $60 but it gave me $150.”
Her eyes went wide, like she’d just won the lottery, and the excitement emanating from her was palpable as she continued to press keys.
“But I’m not going to keep it,” I said.
She turned around again and looked at me as if I was some sort of idiot and muttered, “I guess I should use the other machine then, heh, heh,” before turning back to the task at hand.
The bank lady came back to the glass and said, “I’ll get you your $60.” I didn’t understand what she was saying (again, thick glass), but eventually I got it and off she went into the far reaches of the bank.
Lottery-woman’s cash, meanwhile, was being dispensed and she turned around with a handful of bills and a look of glee on her face.
“How much is that?” I asked.
“I took out $400… but,” as she finished counting, “… this isn’t $400.”
She started almost yelling, “this isn’t $400. It’s not $400,” as she recounted and recounted again.
At about this time, bank-lady returned from the deepest bowels of the bank with my $60 and lottery-woman started yelling at bank-lady, telling her she had been ripped off.
Bank-lady gave me the $60, I handed her the $150 and left bank-lady to deal with lottery-woman.
Now I’m thinking if lottery-woman wanted the free cash, she should not have taken out $400 because the ATM would try to give her $50 bills (which in this case would have dispensed $20 bills because someone switched the fifties and twenties). So if she was trying to rip off the bank, and I’m not saying she was — but boy, it sure seemed like she was excited to use that ATM, she should have been taking out $60 or $80 at a time so the machine would have been forced to give her twenties (which in reality would have been fifties).
And I’m thinking lottery-woman had no intention of withdrawing $400 until she heard she could make an instant 150% more on her withdrawals — but again, that may not have been the case at all.
What I suspect is the case, however, is there is a post somewhere on Facebook from a Parksville woman telling this story but with an ending that goes something like, “…and the idiot not only didn’t take the free money but he actually TOLD the bank about it and stopped me from getting $600 in free money of my own.”
An interesting start to the morning indeed.