Thursday, January 05, 2012

If it was never my money to begin with, did it really slip from my grasp?

We’ve been paying college tuition for almost TEN solid years now – sometimes for as many as three kids at once.  The college accounts dried up long ago and now it’s a matter of fretting big time when Aleks’ and Kat’s tuition statements come in, just hoping that we can squeak by every three months with enough saved to pay that quarter’s tuition and room and board. 

I woke up yesterday in a bit of a panic, knowing that UW tuition for winter quarter (Aleks’ and Kat’s next-to-last quarter – and our next-to-last EVER college tuition payment!) is due in a few short weeks and wondering how tight the situation really was.

I sleepily walked across the hall from our bedroom to my office, fired up the computer, and checked the college account balance.  I was hoping that we had at least the coupla thousand necessary for January tuition, knowing that I’d already paid Aleks’ fraternity bill and Kat’s January rent had been paid.

Staring back at me was a number that made NO sense whatsoever in my pre-coffeed state: the account had well over $9,000 in it!  I refreshed my browser (my default first troubleshooting action), then exited and re-entered the bank’s site.

Yup.  Well over nine grand!

This made no sense whatsoever.  We certainly didn’t put those extra thousands of dollars into the account.  So where did all that money come from?  I had no idea.

For more than a split second, I pondered how nice it would be to OWN that money, to pay Aleks’ and Kat’s last two quarters of college expenses stress-free, to breathe.  To…

Oh, damn!  I can’t keep the money!  It’s not ours to keep.

I started digging around my online banking account and found this:


It was a deposit slip for $8,636.13 with our college account number handwritten clearly on the bottom.  It also contained the name and  phone number of the person who deposited it – presumably into her own account.

I had no choice but to dial the number on the slip.  I mean, there it was, staring me in the face!  And there was a name to go with it! 


Roslyn who was probably wondering where in the world her big deposit was.

Of course I wanted to do the right thing, and of course I wanted the good feeling that goes along with doing the right thing.  There was never any doubt that I’d remedy all this.  And there was never any doubt that if I didn’t the bank eventually would.

But damn -- eight thousand dollars sure would have been nice!

I called Roslyn and explained to her what had happened.  She sounded stunned.  As it turns out, she had made the deposit (in the bank branch, it turned out, where the teller mistakenly wrote my account number on the slip instead of hers, omitting just one digit) and she hadn’t given it another thought after she left the bank, confident that the money was in her account.  As we talked, she checked her account online and realized that the funds hadn’t made it to her account after all!

I assured her that I’d take care of it with the bank, then spent the next (grrrr!) 85 minutes on the phone and on hold with Bank of America.  Had I not already made a personal connection with Roslyn, I just might have hung up, furious that the bank was making it so hard to simply do the right thing!

Roslyn now has her money and our college bank account is back to “sleepless” levels.  But I feel better.  And I KNOW Roslyn feels better!

I think I’ll go buy a lottery ticket.

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Margaret said...

I would have done the same thing and HOPE that someone would do so for me. You are a good person!! Wish there were more Carols in this world.

c said...

Good for you and her.
A long time ago, when I was in real need of $, I took a temp job and on the last day was handed a check with an extra 0 in the total. It had been signed and approved and I don't know if the error would ever have been found out, but I turned the check back in and got my measly check instead.
All these years later, I'm still glad I did that.

Goofball said...

Aaaah what a dual feeling you must have.

Of course you had to call her, I wouldn't sleep with my concious if I wouldn't have done the same thing as you did.

And yet...argh, how frustrating to have that bit of excitement and hope and then have it let go again.

Roslyn loves you though , your good deed will pay off for sure one day.

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