Imagine yourself on a typical Friday morning. You are going to the local bank in a nice suburb. Birds are chirping, the sun is shining, people are walking their dogs outside. While sitting at a table with a banker, you admire the small stuffed animals adorning the tops of the cubicle dividers. “Oh, those are for kids who open a savings account,” the banker tells you with a smile.
Life is normal.
You hear a scuffle of feet at the door. Yelling. As you turn around to see what the commotion is, you get a glimpse of a man jumping over the teller gate. At the same time, you hear someone shout, “Everyone get down NOW!”
Have you ever wondered, what would I do in an incredibly dangerous and frightening situation?
Unfortunately, I had the opportunity to find out what I would do, because this is exactly what happened to me on Friday morning.
My husband and I were on our way out of town with our two best friends. The four of us had been sitting at a table when the aforementioned scenario occurred.
Everyone get down NOW!
As I realized what was happening, I looked at my friends and husband, who were already moving to get under the table. Our husbands were laying flat on the floor; my friend and I quickly got under the table and scrunched up against the wall as best we could.
Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh…
Heart racing. Palms sweaty. Fear that reaches your core.
Yelling. Swearing. Shuffling of feet.
Open the safe!
Thirty seconds, gentlemen!
Give me the money! Where’s the rest? Quit playing with me!
Get off your phone!
Everyone stay DOWN!
Fifteen seconds, gentlemen!
Shaking. Silent tears. Silent prayers. Bjork reaching across to touch my leg. It’s ok, we’re going to be ok…
Let’s move gentlemen!
And then they were gone. With everyone still on the floor, the bank employees jumped up to lock the doors.
Give me the keys! Give me the keys!
(someone yelling out a license plate)
Is everyone OK?
And then came the sobs. Both my friend and I, filled with pure fear and now relief, were an emotional mess.
Police arrived within seconds. In addition to blocking off the entrance and dusting for fingerprints, they started asking everyone what they had seen and heard.
You know how it seems so obvious that you would know what the person was wearing, or how tall they were, or how heavy? It’s hard. Your mind is just a blur. Fear must have some kind of an effect on the mind’s ability to recall detail.
Which is why it’s a good thing that they have high quality surveillance cameras all over the bank (so why exactly do we, the terrified witnesses, need to try to recall these details?) …
About 30 minutes later, we were on our way out the front door of the bank. Life was still normal for the rest of the world. Birds still chirping, sun still shining, people still walking their dogs.
In an effort to make life go back to normal, we drove across the street to McDonald’s. With tear stained eyes and adrenaline still lingering, we ordered fruit smoothies. How’s that for normal?
And then we continued on with our lives: we drove up north and enjoyed a relaxing weekend with our friends.
Probably 30% of all conversation centered around our once-in-a-lifetime experience at the bank on Friday morning.
As the days continue to pass and we get further and further from Friday morning, the sharpness of my emotions start to dull. I can no longer still feel that same level of fear that I felt the moment I realized we were in danger. At this point, I can remember, but I don’t feel it the same way.
I do, however, still feel anger, fear, and sadness. Anger that those three men took something that someone else worked hard for. Anger that now I question my safety in my own quiet neighborhood.
Fear that it will happen again. Fear that they haven’t been caught.
And sadness that their lives are at a point that makes them believe that robbing a bank is the best way for them to solve their problems.
A memorable weekend, to say the least.