Someone Leaves His Card in the ATM. What Would You Do?

downloadThe ATM was beeping when I approached it. DO YOU NEED MORE TIME? Er, well no, I haven’t even taken my card from my wallet. Then I realised that there was already a card inside the machine, even though there was no-one around. Someone must have checked his/her balance and rushed off in a hurry, absent-mindedly leaving the card in the machine. I had full access to someone’s bank account! What would you do in this situation?

For me it was simple. I pressed the ‘no’ option and the card ejected. I went straight into the bank to hand it in to the clerk. I’m not a thief. I then went back outside and took my own money, out of my own account. It’s not as though I didn’t need the money; I wasn’t exactly flush.

When I arrived at work, I told my colleagues about what had happened, expecting nods of approval and pats on the back for doing the right thing. It’s not as though I did it to gain approval, but I know that there are people in this world who would take advantage of such a situation.

What I actually received verged on criticism! Sample responses were “Why didn’t you take out the maximum cash allowance?” and “I would have checked the balance to see how much was in the account”. Meaning that if there was a significant amount, they would have taken a larger amount than if there were limited funds. They didn’t want to take too much if the person couldn’t afford it. How compassionate! There’s nothing like twisted morals.

Unbelievably, I found myself defending my position against universal opposition. I couldn’t understand how my co-workers could have such an attitude. How would they like it if someone emptied their accounts due to one costly mistake? It was likely that the person who left the card was stressed or struggling to attend to something, causing the error. Maybe it was a mother with a screaming baby. Or possibly an easily confused elderly person.

Of course, ignoring the ethics, there is also the consideration of being caught. For me this was irrelevant, but for those who thought I should have taken the money, they seemed to be missing the fact that there are CCTV cameras at banks. If I’d have taken the money, I may have thought I’d got away with it, but I could have seen my picture in the newspaper the next day. Imagine the shame!

But maybe I am in the minority. My colleagues were all in their 20s and 30s, so maybe that is a young person’s mindset? I hope not. I’d like to think that there are more honest than dishonest people out there.

What do you think?

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10 thoughts on “Someone Leaves His Card in the ATM. What Would You Do?

  1. Well Stewie, It’s just a matter of being aware of the fact that doing what you think is right will always take you where you need to go. Sometimes, however, it can be painful. lol

  2. You undoubtedly did the right thing, for all the reasons you mentioned. I think you have to put yourself in the shoes of the person who’s had this mishap. Like you said, it could’ve been a stressed parent, or somebody vulnerable.

    Ignore the remarks of the co-workers. You can hold your head up knowing you did something good.

    There should be more people out there with your morals!

  3. I would absolutely have handed it in- well done you! I’d like to think I’d be more badass, steal all the money, and ride a llama off into the distance… but the internet was made for truths, and truthfully, I am much too good for my own good.

  4. It absolutely was the right thing. How could there be anything else? I mean, come ON, humanity! Sometimes it’s hard to keep faith.

  5. Stumbled upon this after reaching a similar situation, someone had left their bank card in the ATM when I approached it and I wasn’t sure whether to phone the bank, hand the card in, wait around etc.

    Just for the record, I am 22 (this is not a “young person’s mindset”) and I personally believe that “doing the right thing” is something you should do irrespective of whether or not you receive (or expect to receive) praise – i.e. do the right thing for the right reasons. If you’re doing something just to pat yourself on the back and get others to do the same, then chances are you might one day end up doing the “wrong” thing in pursuit of the same ‘rewards’.

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