A slightly odd ATM vestibule experience

Yesterday morning I had to be up and out earlier than is usual for me for a before work coffee meeting. I left my apartment at 7:40 and headed to my bank which is right across from Rittenhouse Square. They have an ATM vestibule, that you access by inserting your debit card to unlock the door. I performed this action quickly and without thinking about it, but when I walked into the vestibule, I realized suddenly that things were different than normal. There were two men sleeping on the floor, neither blocking the ATM, both just curled up, their faces towards the walls.

I stood there for a moment, trying to figure out if I should proceed and take my money out, or if I should turn and walk away. They didn’t move an inch, and so I made what I realize now was an incredibly stupid choice. I walked to the machine and took out my 20 dollars and left. I felt like there was an unsaid agreement that if I didn’t bother them, they wouldn’t bother me. But it could have been different. They could have been there, laying in wait for some stupid woman such as myself to log into her bank account so that they could rob her.

I haven’t called the bank yet to report it, and I’m not sure if I actually want to. There’s part of me that doesn’t want to deprive these guys of their ability to sleep with a certain level of relaxation, but I don’t want to be a missing link in a chain that leaves someone vulnerable to attack or harm. I’ll call them today.

4 Comments so far

  1. Melyni (unregistered) on May 12th, 2006 @ 11:32 am

    At the point when you were deciding weather to stay or go, I thought in my head “Just take out the money.” Then when you brought up about them robbing you, it hit me like a ton of bricks, like it probably hit you. I would’ve done the SAME THING. I have sometimes put myself in vulnerable situations and reazlied later that I could’ve been hurt or worse. I’m glad you weren’t and that someone was watching over you.

    And you should call about it.

  2. Marisa (unregistered) on May 12th, 2006 @ 5:53 pm

    I called today, and the woman I spoke with on the phone told me that they do know that this happens occasionally, and that they’ve informed the police. But they can’t have an officer there all the time and that they don’t know what else to do about it.

  3. salas (unregistered) on May 13th, 2006 @ 1:04 pm

    To do that consistently, assuming they aren’t thieves, wouldn’t they likely need to be homeless and have a debit card?

    I wonder how many homeless people have debit cards.

  4. mary (unregistered) on May 16th, 2006 @ 11:03 am

    Can never be too careful. Being homeless can drive people to do brazen stuff, like seeking a safe place to sleep. Because they had their faces to the wall, I’m sure they were homeless with no intention of robbing you. Many homeless are addicted to drugs and do rob for their fix. Many other homeless actually work, but don’t have earn enough for housing, they might have an ATM card. They could also have been drunk kids (or adults) that couldn’t make it home. I think I would have done exactly as you did.

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