Weathering accidental accusations is difficult

Nothing was unusual about my Saturday trip to the credit union. As usual, I embarked upon it in the eleventh hour to deposit checks at the drive-thru window that would enable me to write a check for a mortgage payment that would enable me to maintain ownership of my home. As I said, the usual.

But when I arrived home late in the day, it was to a voice mail from the credit union teller who had processed my transaction, where I had deposited two $100 checks and cashed a $75 one. She said the deposit was removed from my account, as she had given me back the entire amount in cash.

What?! I think not. The voice mail said to call on Monday with any questions. Questions? No, that’s not what they were going to get. More like angry statements. Nothing gets my dander up quicker than false assumptions, particularly when they are related to my character.

I had 36 hours to mull over the situation and find my receipt from the credit union, which I briefly feared had been discarded along with a Taco Bell cup. While the $200 amount in question was not huge, it might as well have been $2,000, given my current economy. Worse, the hold-up was preventing me from paying my mortgage. While I would like to claim I was most upset about the principle, I openly admit it was more about the money.

I decided to handle the situation in-person, rather than by phone. Showing up is usually the best response to dicey situations, as absence can be regarded as an admission of guilt rather than a scheduling issue. Plus, I already had the day off. I waited until the credit union had been open for an hour, as to not ambush the teller I desperately wanted to ambush. I prayed for civility, which is hard to do when you’re feeling uncivilized.

When I got to her window in the credit union lobby, the teller repeated her voice mail message about having removed the deposited funds from my account because I had received all $275 in cash back. I asserted $75 was all I had received back in cash, adding I had expressly needed to deposit the $200 on Saturday to cover a mortgage payment on Monday.

The teller took a break and re-checked her transactions from Saturday, but was unable to find another error to explain her $200 drawer shortage. The video tape of the transaction would need to be reviewed. She said they could either call me with the results or I could wait, although it might take a while. I opted to wait. Sure of her own innocence, the teller left for lunch. How youthfully arrogant of her, I thought.

Wary of being left in the lobby alone with my negative thoughts, I got from my vehicle the book I was reading, Bill Hybel’s Who You Are When No One’s Looking. The title made me smile. I also smiled that I’d bookmarked it with paper from a pad bearing the name of my church. My hands on the book bore rings engraved with the words “strength,” “fear not” and “faith.” I suddenly felt in good hands.

My faith, integrity and solid credit score are about the only things left intact since my life blew up two years ago. And I hold them dear. To have someone think otherwise felt hurtful. During my time of greatest financial need, I have had abundant opportunities for dishonesty, ranging from using people of means to outright stealing. But I’ve resisted.

Still, I couldn’t help wondering what if I were found guilty of receiving the $200 I never received? Should I take dramatic action, tell off the credit union and close my accounts there? That just isn’t me. But could I quietly accept the loss of $200 with the grace I’ve received when I’ve accidentally messed up?

I became willing to try, but it wasn’t necessary. A credit union official came out and reported the video was inconclusive, so they deposited the $200 into my account. End of the drama. But not of the grace which is always available, with its constantly compounding interest.



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