Last Cash: A True Story

By Cheryl Howe
Tuesday December 30, 2003

The holidays are an unusual time of the year. They invoke many different memories. For many people this is their favorite time of year. Times of Christmas past are remembered fondly. It is a time for family and friends. But for one homeless woman, the memories are bittersweet. 

She had been saving her money for months. Each week she put aside a small portion from her unemployment checks that she received. Illness and a difficult job market had hindered her from finding another job, although she was still trying. She lived in a shelter and had no real family here. She needed medical care that was not covered by Medical. In spite of these conditions, this woman was determined that her life would move in a new direction. 

She went to the bank to cash her latest check. This would help pay bills and be tucked away with the rest of her savings. 

She then made a fatal mistake. She put all her money in one envelope. 

Inadvertently, she dropped the money in the bank and when she realized what she had done, ran back to the bank only to discover her money was gone. 

The bank manager told her that he could only take her name and number and hope for the best. When the homeless woman asked the banker if he could view the video tape from the cameras placed around the bank to find out what had happened, he said it was impossible to do so without giving away vital security information. She told the manager that she was homeless and that it took her such a long time to save the money. He said there was nothing else he could do. The money was lost forever. 

She thought about filing a police report, but what good would it do? She was homeless and was afraid of the prejudice she might encounter. She felt like a fool anyway. How could she be so careless? It served her right. Now she had to start all over again. With a sigh of defeat, she left the bank.