When Scott was an infant, I had to go to the bank. Whatever I was doing, I needed to go inside to do it. It must have been going to be a quick trip, because instead of using my Ergo or ring sling, I had him in his car seat.
I went in to the bank, set him on the ground next to me, and used the table at the bank to fill out whatever form I needed to fill out.
Suddenly, I heard the teller crying, heard doors shutting and locking, and people running around all around me.
Apparently, the bank had just been robbed.
For obvious reasons, I wasn’t able to leave. So, I got Scott out of his carrier and sat with him in the lobby of the bank. Thankfully, there was a seating area with a couch and a few easy chairs. The staff of the bank were very nice and incredibly apologetic. I kept assuring them that they didn’t need to worry about me.
Before long, the police came, and not long after, a team of detectives. The writer in me was eating up being able to see first hand the process of a bank in post-robbery mode.
When the detective came to interview me, I had my first feelings of discomfort. It occurred to me, as I began to answer questions, that I knew NOTHING.
Not only had I not seen the man who robbed the bank, I had not even been aware that a man was in the teller line. I had come into the bank thinking about the business I had to conduct, and never even looked around me.
This man had apparently come into the bank behind me, robbed it, and left, and I hadn’t even known he was there.
Here is a clip from the security camera of the bank.
Scott was so close to this man that when he left, he walked right by him.
I was so embarrassed. But, apparently, wasn’t an unusual “witness”. The detective informed me that most people are unaware of their surroundings the way I had been.
After that, I became determined to be aware. Not only in case I ever ended up being a “witness” again, but just for my own safety. Now, when I walk into a building, I look around. I see who is in the room with me, where they are, where the exits are, and kind of file it away in my brain. If I hear a door open, I look. If someone walks by me, I look.
It took a lot of training of my brain to automatically do it. I don’t think that I could still do well on those games where you look at a scene, someone removes some objects, and you write down the list of objects that were removed. However, I at least could tell a police officer if someone was wearing a black and gray hoodie and a black ski cap when they robbed the bank five feet away from me.
Be aware. Don’t become paranoid and afraid, but at least be aware of your surroundings and the people around you.
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That must have been a scary moment. Good advice.
As a 16 year bank employee, I find myself constantly memorizing people’s looks, behaviors, walks, etc. Its now become so ingrained into me. On June 15, 2011 my branch was robbed. I can still tell you about what the robber was wearing, who was in the bank when he robbed it and what they were wearing and where they were standing. When you experience something like that, regardless if you are a bank employee or not, it tends to change how you go about your day. I’m sorry you had to experience that. Oh and by the way, if I would have seen that guy come into my branch, its likely my finger would have been on the alarm…hahaha…hat, hoodie, sunglasses never equates to anything good in a bankers mind!
Wow. I might’ve done that same thing. Scary to know how close you were. How many of us have done that, been so preoccupied with our own business that we don’t really pay attention to what and who surrounds us. Thanks for posting. I know I’ll certainly be paying more attention the next time I go into a business of any kind. Nice to know God was watching over you too and no one got hurt. You just never know…
This has been a good wake up call. I’m thinking of why I AM so unaware as I go about my errands and two reasons come to mind:
1. I’m too busy to care what others are doing, I’m on a mission to get in and get out.
2. I don’t want to seem “nosy” and check others out too much. I guess it’s important that I figure out a way to be aware without seeming nosy, huh?
Hugs to you and Gregg!
Good point – I should know this, since I used to work at a bank…..but I find that having kids can sometimes make you less aware because you’re totally focused on them. Thanks for the reminder.
I am aware like knowing where exits are, having my purse around my body not arm when in a mall, keys in hand when leaving a store as to not fumble through the purse in a parking lot, stuff like that.
However, I don’t want to look judgemental or nosey by paying too close attention to suspicious people. Plus, let’s be honest, so many people look suspicious these days its hard to tell the bad guys from the non-bad folks. The way folks dress, mental illnesses, drug addicts, etc can make a lot of folks look highly suspicious.
Anyone wearing dark glasses or hats in my town’s bank is not allowed, so automatically that guy looks odd to me since he didn’t remove his hat.
Did they ever catch the robber? I hope so!