Sunday, August 21, 2011

Cindy Lou Who Restores One Cynic's Faith In Humanity at Local Bank

This week I experienced a first, something I never thought would come to pass in my lifetime…something so incredible that when I tell you what it is it was will sound so oxymoronic, so improbable you will most likely scoff at the words you are reading on the screen, minimize this page in disgust and go back to watching one of the “Real Housewives” shows or playing World of Warcraft.  Well boys and girls, are you ready to hear something so astounding you’ll file it away in the “impossible” category along with things like free lunches and a sensible but stylish shoe?  Here it goes…brace yourself…and don’t say I didn’t warn you:  Today, I had a heartwarming experience in which my faith in humanity was restored…AT THE BANK!

If you haven’t blurted out a colorful expletive from a bygone era, like “Poppycock!” or “Balderdash” or my personal favorite, “Blather and bilskate” by now and slammed your laptop shut in outrage then I figure that right about this point you are asking yourself, “But Whitny, how on earth is this possible?  Aren’t banks soul-sucking, bone crunching leviathans that prey upon the hopes and dreams of hard-working men and women?”

Well, yes…I am not arguing that for the vast majority of us our only experiences with banks involve hours spent on hold trying to navigate an automated phone tree and overdraft protection fees and loopholes in the fine print which allow them to foreclose on our homes…however, today I saw something at the bank that sweet and pure and reminded me that there are still some young people out there who believe in the ideas of hard work and the American dream.

As I approached the bank teller’s counter I saw an adorable petite blonde girl, vaguely reminiscent of Cindy Lou Who from the Dr. Seuss classic How the Grinch Stole Christmas who was apparently celebrating her 18th birthday by taking her life’s savings to the Bank of America in Sonora and opening her very first savings account.  Apparently Bank of America requires a $25 minimum to open an account and so this sweet girl was there to dump her life’s savings in the form of a pile of coins from a Jansport backpack on the bank’s counter.

This pretty much captures the essence of the girl at the bank.

Now my cynical mind immediately assumed that the bank teller, an elderly woman in a collared kitten sweater, would be irritated by the idea of manually counting out each and every coin in the pile that would ultimately amount to what is a trivial sum in Bank of America’s coffers.  But shocker of all shockers…she wasn’t annoyed in the least!  She didn’t laugh at the young girl’s paltry savings or roll her eyes in disgust…no, no…she actually happily pulled out a deposit slip, a bunch of paper wrapper to put the coins in and proceeded to painstakingly slide each penny, nickel, dime and quarter across the counter, counting them with as much care and concern as a Goldman Sachs accountant inventorying a billion dollar hedge fund.

Now the cuteness and heartwarming goodness didn’t stop there.  The collared kitten sweater-wearing elderly bank teller began counseling the young pony-tailed girl on the different programs the bank had in place to help you grow your wealth and again I was waiting for cynicism to seep into the situation.  But again, it didn’t!  The little teenage girl listened enthusiastically and shared her plans with the bank teller to save up for a pick-up truck that was for sale at the auto body shop down the street so that she could drive herself to the restaurant where she was a waitress and in the fall drive herself to community college.

As I stood behind these two national treasures, these two gems of Americana, these two “real Americans” (as any politician running for office would call them)…I felt like the Grinch in that scene where suddenly the ice melts off his heart as he hears all the Whos down in Whoville singing “Da-ho-dooray”. 

And this was me after watching this little interchange...

Yes, oh yes, And the Whitny, with her Whitny-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And she puzzled and puzzled ’till her puzzler was sore. Then the Whitny thought of something she hadn’t before. What if Christmas (the American dream), she thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas (the American dream), perhaps, means a little bit more. 

So anyway, as I sit here on a Sunday afternoon writing on my blog I find that I am a little less cynical, a little less jaded, a little less likely to roll my eyes at the idea that there are still some people out there in this great nation of ours who don’t think of hard work, modest means and learning from your elders as old fashioned values.  Apparently there are some people still out there that just see all those things as a way of life.

Okay, I’ll get off my soapbox now.  Thanks for the listening.  

1 comment:

Know Me Not said...

Thank you so much for this lovely story. I had been looking for a picture of Cindy Lou Who (I made a costume for my granddaughter for Reading Week-Celebrating Dr. Seuss)and your story came up with the picture I wanted.

Your story made me cry(in a good way). It tugged at places in my heart that only stories like yours can reach.

God Bless you and again, thank you, I needed that!