Alrighty. When I lived on a farm outside Chicago, I remotely worked on a web project that required some in-depth paperwork to get started. One of those documents declared I was a U.S. citizen and it had to be notarized before I could begin my work.
The notary clerk was at a bank five miles from the farm. Most of the route was loose gravel roads. It was 80 or more degrees at around 2 p.m. The humidity was thick. By the time I reached the bank, my 28oz water bottle completely drained and I was covered with a lovely blanket of sweat.
So I go into this bank, with my paper that I knew nothing about, and attempted to have the notary sign it. They weren’t sure what the document was, and no one else in the bank had a clue either. After multiple of trying to get them to “just sign it” so I could be on my way, I left without a signature.
After exiting the bank, I crossed the street and called up the agency handling the logistics for the project. Nervously pacing up and down the sidewalk of one of the main streets of this small town.
Ten to fifteen minutes later a police officer rolls up while I’m on the phone and says, “need any help?”
I say, “no,” and return to my pacing and phone call. So the officer pulls over and gets out of his car to talk to me. Now, the phone conversation I was having was going sour fast and I’d already been transferred to a few different people to find me some help. The cop patiently walks over and to me and stands in silence as I hold my finger up to let me know I need a second.
After a couple of minutes, I end the call, and he asks to see my ID, and I responded with a short “why?”
“Sir, the ladies in the bank, were feeling uneasy about your request, so they called me to escort you back inside.”
Then he asks for my ID again and begrudgingly I say, “yes.”
While handing over my ID, I dropped it on the ground, because at this point I was starting to shake, and this cop just picks it up like it’s nothing. He asks me a few questions about the situation, and I answer them. Not with a kind tone, but I do, and oddly he remains patient.
Finally, we walk across the street back to the bank. I’m firmly leading us and get to the door first. It was locked! I give it another go in case it was stuck, but the door was indeed locked.
The cop then tells me that the bank went into lockdown because they were worried I was a terrorist or something of the sort.
“Oh,” I respond.
One of the tellers comes to the door to unlock it, and then we walk in. I meet with the same notary from before, and as you can imagine, we reached the same blurry conclusion. So I quickly pack up my things. Thank them for their time and swiftly exit the bank.
I head to my bike and get back on the phone with the agency to explain the issue to them again. Eventually, they say it wasn’t important, and I can get back to business as usual, and we end the call. Beads of sweat descending down my face as I put my phone back in my pocket.
At this point, I was starving and needed some quick calories. So I stopped at a Subway on the way back. While inhaling two white-chocolate-macadamia-nut cookies and a veggie sub I think to myself, “this has to be one of the only days that eating Subway wasn’t the worst part.”