I know that banks have been portrayed as the enemy recently – but allow me to tell another side.
I’m a personal banker at a locally owned bank. We have six branches and a pledge to stay local. We are also the only locally owned bank in the area, so the pressure is on to really live up to being “local”. They take great care in hiring the best people (which is one reason I feel so privileged to work there) and today something happened that humanizes the banking industry.
We’re open on Saturdays from 8AM-12PM, drive thru only. It’s extremely busy and one person is dedicated to only answering the phone – today that person stayed extremely busy in an office and it wasn’t until the end of the day that she was able to come share with us what happened.
A lady called her and asked if she knew of any organizations that would help her with Christmas this year. She explained that she had two children, she went to school full-time, and her husband was sick and unable to work. She said that she has tried her best to come up with money to buy Christmas gifts for her children…but at a week before Christmas, she still had nothing and was desperate. So my coworker took her name and number and said she would make some calls. She did, and found that most charities have given all they have at this point. Not too long ago, my coworker won a radio contest – concert tickets and a $100 gift card. She called the lady back, got clothing sizes for the children, their Christmas wish list, and told the lady that she had “found an organization that would help”.
There is no organization. It’s simply my coworker taking sympathy on a stranger at Christmas. I offered money towards the cause, but she wouldn’t take it…only said that if the total was more than $100 she would let me know.
I wish I could say that I would have reacted the same way as my coworker – but I’m not sure I would have. I’m afraid I might have been too caught up in the busy-ness of the day to really slow down and realize that I could help her.
It’s a lesson I hope to hold onto – next time I see somebody in need, don’t just hope that somebody can help them. Be the one to help them.
Next time you see a story about “evil banks” remember that there are honest, dedicated, and caring employees out there, too. We aren’t all evil.