Friday, January 31, 2014

A Helping Hand

There are many things we take for granted in our daily lives.  For example, I can get in and out of an ATM in about thirty seconds even if I have a complex transaction.  However, there are still some people who might not be well-versed in a technology that we've used for the last 20 years.

So, today, I stopped to order some Chinese food, then headed on over to the bank to get some new cash to add to my wallet.  It was late, after nightfall, so I waited outside the ATM while someone else was using it.  The person inside seemed to be making a number of transactions, which is always annoying.  However, after a third transaction, the lady in the ATM opened the door and offered to let me in.  As I had taken my gloves out of my jacket to head to New York today, my hands were starting to chill and I accepted the offer.

Inside, the woman let me know she had other plans.  She needed help.  Now, for a moment, I was suspicious, but here was a woman, clutching a few dollars in her hand.  She asked if I knew where the money was inserted into the ATM to make a deposit.  I showed her that one of the slots said Insert Cash and said the cash needed to go into this slot.  I also tried to helpfully point out the money needed to be face up and all in the same direction and stepped back.

However, the woman needed more assistance and I talked her through the whole process.  I explained each step of the process, but was a little worried the woman was not literate.  I tried to use location on the screen with each word, since I was uncertain, but did not want to cause the woman any undue embarrassment.  She was able to finish her transaction and check her balance, leaving me the opportunity to complete my transaction in about fifteen seconds. 

The woman thanked me and off I went, knowing that for once, I managed to help someone, which goes against my traditional, Switzerland-like resolve in the face of people. 

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