What would you do if you were withdrawing cash from the ATM outside your bank, and received a note pleading for help along with the receipt? That scenario played out in Texas this week as a man sent to change a lock behind a Bank of America ATM instead locked himself inside without his phone, and had to plead for help from what we’re guessing were some very confused bank customers.
According to the police in Corpus Christi, TX, the man’s job was to change a lock in the room connecting to the ATM at a Bank of America branch. He had left his phone in the car, and had no way to reach the outside world other than writing notes on slips of paper and passing them to customers who stopped by to use the ATM, because the machine was still working and customers visited while he was trapped.
“Please Help. I’m stuck in here, and I don’t have my phone. Please call my boss,” he wrote on one of the notes, giving the boss’s phone number.
The customer who eventually helped didn’t follow the instructions, calling the police instead of the purported boss. The police shared one of these notes with KRIS-TV, but one of the officers who responded explained that the cops also assumed that the call was a prank of some kind.
“We come out here, and sure enough we can hear a little voice coming from the machine,” he told a reporter. “So we are thinking this is a joke. It’s got to be a joke.” It was not a joke.
The police were able to break down the door leading to the little room where the man was trapped, freeing him and leading to a cascade of local news puns about “withdrawals.”
Sure, you hear about notes slipped inside products pleading for help, and you hear about people trapped inside businesses trying to get someone’s attention (or, failing that, sawing their way out.) We’ve never heard of a situation like this, though, where someone has no choice but to pass notes to free himself from a confined space.
The closest analogue that we have in our archives is a pilot who locked himself in the plane’s lavatory during a flight, and alerted his colleagues by pounding on the door to seek help from passengers. This led to a misunderstanding with air traffic control, since the crew members thought that the passenger was trying to gain access to the cockpit, not free the pilot from an airplane rest room.
All is well in Corpus Christi with the man trapped inside the bank who had no way to contact the bank, and with the ATM.