I told this story to make aide last week. I may have written a blog about it over the last 5 years. If I did, oh well. It’s a story not many can say they’ve experienced. That makes it worth telling again even if I already wrote the tale. Hey, I’m turning 50 in 22 days, I’m reliving my past days.
I was 23 years old. I lived out east on Long Island with my then boyfriend (who would become my husband to one day become my ex-husband). My first job out of college was with Pizza Hut. I was a Hotel and Restaurant Management major. I thought being promoted to general manager quickly was proof I was great at my job. My naïve self didn’t realize how much turn over the industry had. After about a year, and an incident where my boss didn’t side with me, I quit. I took a job with a bank, Marine Midland.
The bank isn’t around anymore. It was taken over by Fleet and then maybe Bank of America. I don’t remember that part. They were a big bank chain. I remember that. I loved being a teller. I loved handling the money. I loved counting it and bundling it and doing large deposits. Unfortunately, I got promoted to the sale floor. I wouldn’t be a teller anymore. I say unfortunately because I loved being a teller. I hated the other side. I also hated the people on the other side. It was me, the bank manager, assistant manager and someone who was there for 20 years. I didn’t fit in. Plus it was boring. I only got to be a teller if they were short because someone was sick.
Like so many businesses this Monday-Friday job started requiring Saturday’s as well. However you didn’t get a day off if you worked Saturday you got to shave the hours of the Saturday workday off of your Monday-Friday schedule. Since it was only 4 of us on the floor, I was now covering Saturday every other week. However, this did drastically play with the hours of the tellers. They seemed to be short staffed more easily during certain hours especially if someone called out sick. This gave me a teller draw more days than not. I was working as a teller most days even if only opening for an hour or two to cover people’s breaks.
That’s how it happened. There was a teller to my extreme right and one on the Drive-thru. All the other tellers were on break. I saw him walk in with the ski mask on but it doesn’t register right away. It was actually a week or so away from Halloween. I remember someone thought it was a costume. He didn’t come in telling everyone to get on the floor. It wasn’t like the movies. He walked up to me, with a gun. He gave me a bag and said told me to give him all the money. I actually had three draws. The top one is unlocked, providing you are standing there. This draw is your working draw. The second draw is for bulk cash. This is used if too much money is in the top draw, it’s bundled and placed here or to replenish the top draw if it’s low. The third draw is your coin rack. Anything that is not loose. The second and third draw should always be locked unless you are retrieving money. At the precise time the gunman walked in, I was retrieving $10,000 from my second draw for a cashed check transaction.
I remember having this thought when he asked me for the money in the drawer. I knew my second drawer was unlocked. Did he know to? These are all things that happened within a split second but I did not give him the money in that second drawer. That second draw would have contained about $25-35000 alone. I did however have that $10,000 in my hand. I gave that plus all the cash in my drawer. In my top draw was also the dye-pack that is there in case of a robbery. This is in every tellers working draw. It will go off a few seconds AFTER it breaches the banks door. This will actually dye the money red. I remember hovering for a half a second whether I should put that in the bag. These decisions happen so fast and there’s a gun pointed at you. Yet I remember thinking do I risk putting that in there. I threw it in the bag.
He then told me to go to the next draw. That’s why I was there, she was on a break. I remember politely explaining to him I’m sorry it’s locked she’s on lunch. He made me go to the last draw which was the other teller that was on with me. I once again hesitated over the dye-pack but grabbed it with the rest of the cash. With that he turned and ran out the door. I only remember the assistant manager jumping up and locking the door saying thank you for giving out the dye-pack. I guess she saw the red dye streaming out as he ran away.
The other teller next to me broke out in tears. The Drive-thru teller, I later found out, was trying to tell the person at her window we were being robbed. She was so scared that they were going to ring the buzzer and scare the robber. That could’ve been bad!!! He came in with a pistol that had 15 rounds loaded and ready. He was caught a few days later trying to deposit the red dyed money at a bank around the corner. The day he was arraigned, was my first day with Boston Market. By the way, I was at work the next day in the bank after the robbery. I received $100, $50 for each of the dye- packs that I gave to the robber, which ultimately caught him. This $50 reward came from the company that made the dye packs themselves. I received absolutely nothing from the bank.