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This should probably have been titled Street Urchins Part Four, but it is not. It is titled, So You Had a Bad Day.

Saturdays at the bank were particularly slow, as a result we had one desk person (who takes on a supervisory role) and two tellers.  Check cashing at the bank was very strict, we had to be connected to the person cashing the check or the check itself, meaning the check either had to be drawn on the bank from an account in good standing, or the person had to be a customer in good standing.  The following happened on a Saturday and started about 11:30 and lasted an agonizing 20 minutes.

 The Painter:

I have decided to leave out the colorful swearing that the Painter liberally infused in his speech.  Suffice it to say that every second word was not pleasant.  He was loud, he smelled and his breath was horrific.

The painter handed me the check he wanted cashed.  The second thing I noticed about the check was that it was not drawn on our bank; The first thing I noticed was that it was written in crayon:

 “Sir,” I asked, knowing the answer, ‘Do you happen to have an account with us?”

“No, but you have to cash this check”

 ‘Sir, I am very sorry but I cannot cash this check…”

“You have to THIS IS AMERICA”

Obviously he knew by my ever present Canadian accent that I was not from America.

“Sir, please let me explain the probl…”

“THIS IS AMERICA! You have to cash my check, I worked for it, I deserve it that money belongs to me!  You cash it right now!”

“Sir I…”

“You cash the check! Are you an idiot? What don’t you understand?”

Here I have to point out, bank tellers don’t make a lot of money, certainly not enough to tolerate abuse.

“listen to me for jus…”

“American Money!  This is legal tender it is as good as cash, now cash the check now”

“Sir, if you interrupt me again I’m calling the police, plain and simple, a check is not as good as cash, the only thing as good as cash is cash,  it is not legal tender it is a check.  Legal documents such as a check must be signed in ink not crayon.  I can’t make out the signature, the check is not from our bank, and you are not a customer here….”

“I worked for that, hard-earned money!”

“I understand, I suggest you go back to the employer and get cash, or a check drawn fro…”

“Why?  Just cash my check now”

At this point the desk person, Kim, had come up behind the teller line and was standing at the teller window next to mine, phone in hand, giving me the questioning look.

Sir, it is enough, one of two things are going to happen, you are either going to leave on your own, or I’m calling the police.”

“Why can’t you cash it? You can cash it, you have to cash it, it is the law”

“Sir, I have tried to explain why, and you keep interrupting, you can explain the law to the police when they arrive.”

At which point he glanced over at Kim who started to dial.  For some odd reason he decided to show Kim and I his middle finger, and if you ask me there was nothing special about his finger, except it had paint on it.  And with that, he left the bank.

The following Monday he walked back into the bank and waited for me to finish with my customer. As he walked over I picked up the phone.  It was Monday, Monday’s are my, ‘I don’t have any patience for crap’ days, (so are Tuesday through Friday):

“Sorry about Saturday it was a bad day and I wasn’t thinking.” 

“Yeah, we all have ’em.” I never did see him again.

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