The Penny Coin
Hopping off the 220 at my bus stop in Putney, it wasn’t long before I knew today would be a great day - I found a one penny coin as I walked up the high street.
Like a madman, I picked it up, and mouthed those magic words, ensuring that no one was looking at me.
“Find a penny, pick it up and all the day you’ll have good luck”
I quite often find penny coins and have seen other “scabs” or “very lucky people” do the same thing and it wasn’t too long before this “luck” had come to fruition.
I met my colleagues and as we trundled into the bank together ready for another day, we were met with a foul stench and a comment by my boss as she let us in: “We’ve had another fox” – like it was something that happens often.
Looking around the dishevelled banking hall, all the furniture had been moved like we’d been burgled.
The display sign in the entry was on the other side of the room, chairs displaced, a computer tower on the floor and an odd scent.
Before I knew it, my colleagues were dry reaching and letting out painful moans as they started to dodge pieces of poo on the floor.
ME? I started asking questions.
What do you mean a fox? How did it get in? Are you serious? You mean to tell me a fox broke in and did all this? I can’t believe a fox broke into the bank and did all this! I can’t…….
So what happened?
During the night, there had been movement in the bank and the police were alerted.
They soon discovered, along with the eldest member of staff in attendance (she lives a few streets away), that there was in fact a fox trapped inside.
Two hours, four police officers, the dog squad and our fearless colleague had finally captured the fox.
When I say captured, I mean it ran out the front door!
No wonder the furniture was everywhere – the fox had tried to hide in every possible cranny.
So here we all were, gloves on, febreeze in hand, trying hard to clear up a big mess.
I won’t give more details than that, but this fox must have been so scared that it had sprayed everything and left more deposits than yesterdays entire day of trading.
But this is only half the story…….
Crisis on the High Street.
As the professional cleaners and builders were called in (part of the ceiling had caved in where the fox had entered), we were unable to open the doors!
The luck had started. We couldn’t open!
This meant two of us would have to stand out the front and let people know why the bank wasn’t open. We offered them alternatives, as there are 4 branches in close proximity where you can walk, catch the bus or train.
And so it began:
Me: Sorry Sir, the bank is closed at the moment. We are looking at a 1pm opening at this stage.
Customer: Why? (I don’t know why we had to answer “why?” but this was the case with everyone)
Me: We had a fox in last night and there is a bit of … errr… umm... damage.
Customer: (surprised, yet sceptical) A fox?
Me: Yes, a fox.
Customer: (shakes head, smiles with frustration and follows with…) Well, what am I suppose to do now, I can’t believe this has happened. I need to get cash out. So there is no chance of me getting my money? Typical (bank name)!
I’d got what I wanted, but this was becoming a cruel twist of fate.
I need to find another penny – and urgently!
As you can imagine, it’s Friday, the busiest day of the week. Many people still cash cheques from their own account, a lot of them only draw cash over the counter and many don’t even know how to use an ATM!
By midday the cleaners had arrived and we knew this 1pm promise was not going to happen.
We never did open, but these are a few of the classic lines we were faced with:
1. ”Oh my god! I need money for my holiday. What am I suppose to do? You’ve ruined my holiday” (have I?)
2. ”You told me 1pm and now you don’t think you’ll open? Have you caught the fox yet?” (I re-explained the whole story and again offered the alternative branches to no avail!)
3. (remember, the doors were closed and by this time, the world knew about our fox) “Look, I only need to deposit this money, as I have a bill that’s due. Is there any way I can just come in and pay it?”
4. ”I don’t need this today! I’ve been at work and I’ve got to get my daughter from school and I cannot see how a fox would cause all this. (she stares longingly at me like I have a magic wand or a new solution)
I explain to her the alternative branches again then…. (she stares longingly at me like I will take pity – no words).
Replying to her stare and being as dismissive as I can be but nice at the same time:
“I don’t know what else I can tell you. We will not open today” (stares for the final time, then walks off).
5. “Awwww, is the fox ok?” (I suddenly became the person staring blankly, as this was the first time all day someone had given the fox a thought)
So what started out to be a “lucky” day, ended up with a little old fox – who is now off running around the suburbs - showing me both sides of the coin.
The next time I find a penny, I’ll “pick it up and …………….