Everyone hates calling the bank. Picking up the phone and dialing that 1-800 number further reinforces that something is wrong. It’s no secret that I’m terrified of being broke. Being a creature of habit, it has become part of my daily routine to check my bank accounts twice daily (morning and evening). Not only does this help me keep track of my finances, but it also helps me budget more effectively. Hooray for adulting!
Yesterday morning, like every morning, I opened up my Chase app and checked my accounts and was pleasantly surprised to see that my finances were in good order. Except, there appeared to be more money in my checking account than there should be. I know what you’re thinking, perhaps I miscalculated. Even if I did have more money than I thought, is that really a problem?
The answer was yes, it was a problem. After further investigation, I noticed a check had been deposited into my account in an unfamiliar amount. Thanks to the marvels of modern app banking, I was able to view the strange check and the deposit slip. I noticed that neither the deposit slip, nor the check had my name on it. They were both addressed to a company that I had never heard of before, but all the same, my account number was clearly written on the deposit slip. What do I do now? How do I even begin to resolve this? Is there some form I need to fill out? After a few minutes of searching, I bit the bullet and called Chase Bank.
I was immediately connected with a very helpful service representative, (for the purpose of this story) let’s call him Harold. As I informed “Harold” about my situation, I could hear the shock in his voice. After finishing my story, Harold let me know that in all his years, he had never encountered this issue before. He continued to gather information from me, while apologizing at least 3 dozen times for the inconvenience. After placing me on hold for what felt like a small eternity, he let me know the he had opened an investigation on the mysterious deposit.
While on hold, and continuing my work on Wilco’s online catalog, I looked up the company that the check was made out to. I noticed that not only were they located in Oregon, but that they had an employee with my same name. Now seriously, what are the odds? I relayed this information to Harold as well, in hopes of expediting the process and returning the money to it’s rightful owner.
I spent 45 minutes on the phone with Harold and Chase bank, over this small deposit, that might have otherwise gone unnoticed. Harold told me that he appreciated my honesty and that it was not such a “common trait” anymore. Now it was my turn to be shocked. This got me thinking, what kind of world do we live in where honesty isn’t common?
Just do the right thing. This is something my parents instilled in me from an early age. We do the right thing simply because it is right, whether or not it’s easy. How often do we, as a society, avoid doing something “right” because it might be difficult? I can honestly say that I would have much rather spent that 45 min not on hold or speaking to Harold at Chase about a discrepancy in my account, but I didn’t. Yes, it was an inconvenience but imagine how inconvenient it was for the person the check belonged to.
I’m not any better than you are. This is important. Every single person has the capacity to be a good person. It might take some time out of your day, but it’s a choice you make. It’s not just the big things that make you a good person, it’s the effort each day that really counts. Hold the door open for someone, wait your turn in line, don’t yell at the customer service representatives. It’s not exactly rocket science. Just don’t be a garbage human.
Don’t expect anything out of it. I didn’t call expecting anything in return. I just wanted the money to return to it’s rightful owner. Who knows, that could have been the money that lady needed for groceries that week, or to put gas in her vehicle. Either way, it doesn’t matter. I didn’t expect Harold to thank me for my honesty or to give me that compliment. There’s little point in doing the right thing for the wrong reasons. When we start doing things because they are right, we feel a whole lot better.
This isn’t about the Bible. I know that Jesus said to “love thy neighbor” but that isn’t what this is about either. I will agree that this is a solid value to build from, but that isn’t the point. As much as I would love to say that it was my good Christian-based value system that helped me make that decision, it wasn’t. My parents didn’t teach me to do good things because God or anyone else says to do so. They taught me to follow my own moral compass. Now, I’m not saying that your values shouldn’t be religion-based, by all means please build your own values according to your beliefs, whatever they may be.
Even when no one is watching. Is it harder to do the right thing when no one is watching? While working at the NW Children’s Home, I spent countless hours explaining what integrity meant to our residents. Coincidentally, this was the final “stage” of our program: demonstrating integrity. It is no surprise that integrity is also the first value listed in Wilco’s list. We stand by our word, even if no one is watching. Integrity is closely linked with trustworthiness and authenticity. People trust what they can depend on, and this absolutely applies to people. After all, what good is your word if you don’t stand by it?
Be thankful. This has been a recurring theme for me lately. In an effort to become a more positive person, I have been finding one thing each day to be thankful for. Taking that a step further, I have been trying to thank people more often as well. So, thank you to “Harold” at Chase Bank for making the process easier. Last but not least, thank you to my officemates who put up with me being on the phone for 45 minutes.
Don’t lose faith in humanity. It’s all too easy to say that people suck. The truth is: we are surrounded by good people, we just have to take the time to acknowledge them.
To the lady whom the deposit rightfully belonged, I hope it finds you swiftly.
Stay excellent, friends.