On Friday afternoon, May 19, 1995, Patrick stopped by his bank on the way to the post office. He laughed to himself as he inserted a deposit envelope into the ATM. “I’d love to see the teller’s face when she gets this…”
Over the weekend, he thought about the deposit he made, endorsed with a smiley-face instead of a signature. “I’m sure I’ll be getting a call from them on Monday… I’ll feign surprise when they tell me the news…”
Monday came and went without a call and Patrick simply shrugged it off. “There’s no way… I’m sure they just round-filed it…”
Two days later, Patrick needed to withdraw some cash and stopped again at the ATM, no thought of the deposit he’d made the previous week. After collecting his $20, the receipt buzzed out and he didn’t take two steps before stopping. Double-checking the available balance in his account, his knees practically buckled beneath him.
Patrick knew that he had no moral right to the $95, 093.35 that First Interstate Bank mistakenly allowed him to deposit into his account via a “non-negotiable” personalized junk mail check, but he soon found out he did have a legal right. And when the bank seized his account and began threatening him with hellfire, he’d already moved the money, via cashier’s check, to a safety deposit box ironically within the same bank.
In a time when governments have joined in open corporate partnership with banks “too big to fail,” with these same banks subsequently foreclosing on customers whose future tax dollars were pillaged to keep them in business, it’s almost with a morose delectation that we can secretly enjoy hearing of the little guy “sticking it to the man.”
Patrick Combs made them sweat it out for four months but returned every penny.