I decided to pop into my local bank branch to withdraw some cash before grabbing a bite to eat when something struck me as out of the ordinary as I entered the building. An elderly couple was sitting on a bench inside looking a bit lost. We made eye contact as I entered and I greeted them, they greeted me too.
Because I sensed something wasn't right, I looked around while I asked whether they had gotten stuck or something like that, with it being 8:20PM and all. I knew that the bank wasn't having a late night opening today, so their presence was definitely out of the ordinary. While I was withdrawing some cash, the woman started explaining that his card probably got eaten by the machine, yet neither of them seemed too convinced about that.
I could have just shrugged it off and not care, but it became quite clear that if I didn't do something to help them out, they'd still be sitting there for who knows how long. Since I didn't have the numbers for the bank telephone center on me, nor for card stop, I grabbed my statements because I knew they'd be printed on the back of those.
After doing so, I grabbed my pen and copied both of the numbers to the back of some advertising present in the branch and handed them over to the couple, explaining the difference between the both. They were happy, yet still confused. As I was talking to them about the phone numbers, the man pulled out his wallet to make sure his card hadn't slipped in there without him noticing, and he flashed quite a wad of money. Definitely not a wise thing to do, as you never know who you're dealing with, or who's watching.
I immediately blocked the view on the couple so others wouldn't get funny ideas, because people kept coming in and going out while this all was happening. His card wasn't there. Then the woman suggested that maybe I could phone the call center on their behalf, since they really had little idea what to do next. He had his cellphone on him - I didn't carry mine as I was only popping in and out of the house - so I used that to call the bank's call center. Even though it was close to eight thirty by now, I did manage to get a representative on the phone and I proceeded to explain the situation.
Then it turned out that the couple had managed to withdraw cash and their statements - so the phone numbers had been available even if I hadn't thought of requesting mine - and the operator asked for the account number. I read that off the couple's statement and it quickly turned out that the machine had indeed eaten the card. After verification that the last transaction - a withdrawal for approximately 300 dollar - wasn't fraudulent (the man confirmed the withdrawal was correct), I thanked the operator and started to relay the information to the couple.
After a couple of minutes, they relaxed a little, knowing where their card was, and that no one could get to it. I told them to pick it up first thing in the morning, since due to public holidays, banks will be closed for 4 days straight starting Thursday.
It took me about 15 minutes dealing with something that I wasn't my problem really, but I didn't mind.