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Having just returned from the Nation’s Capitol (No more travel for 54 hours, yea!); I had some banking to do.

The bank at the corner offers three three ATMs: two drive-ups and one walk up.

I drove to the one lane that offered a 360 degree of the area (the other drive-up has a wall that blocks 180 degrees of view) and scanned the area.

Rather than crowding the car in front of me in line, I leave at least a car length.

Why? To increase distance and leave a departure lane in case any situation arose that requires a quick exit.

I also positioned my car to the left of the lane to keep a clear view of the other motorist’s doors. I have had experiences where a car, too close to the car in front has been locked in, unable to maneuver away from a threat as passengers exit from the car in front and charge back toward the following car with unhappy results.

This is the essence of situational awareness. Keeping sight-lines and distance on your side, and being aware of what could happen before it does.

As the driver of first car in the line leaned out of the window and signaled to the car behind him (in front of me) I was happy to have this extra distance.

Just in case.

The line moved on, the two cars in front of me left together. The drive-up ATM was out of order.

I pulled to the front of the building where that walk-up ATM was stationed, and parked three spaces away from the customer who was counting his cash and yelling something to a group the next parking lot over.

When I reached the ATM, I was greeted with a screen that said, “Do you want another transaction?”

The previous customer had left his ATM card with the machine active, his PIN entered and his bank account virtually open to whomever showed up to say, “Yes”.

Being distracted in a conversation a parking lot away while your bank account is left open is not a good thing in the ‘awareness’ department.

I canceled his ATM session and called to him as he was getting into his car to leave. When I handed him his card, I could see the relief on his face when he realized what he had – and what I could have – done.

It felt good to be honest and save the guy the trauma of massive withdrawals on his account.

But, just in case this was a ruse to lure me within striking distance, it also felt good to have a Kimber (Pro Carry) .45 cocked and locked under my shirt.

Situational awareness and preparedness in outdoor banking…

Be safe out there.

Just in case.




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