I was a millionaire for 12 hours last week.
Actually, I was a millionaire for three weeks - I just didn’t know it until the last 12 hours.
Here’s what happened. I have a credit card through a major bank. I don’t want to name it. Let’s just say the name rhymes with BS Stank.
I don’t have any other accounts with the bank, only the credit card and that only for acquiring frequent flyer miles. I went online last week to check how many miles I had, and discovered I finally had enough to buy a one-way ticket to Omaha.
But I also discovered someone had put $1,090,285.24 in my savings account.
A savings account I didn’t know I had, by the way.
This was a surprise.
Just for the heck of it, I Googled “countries without extradition treaties...” Turns out that a retirement plan funded with someone else’s money is best spent in Kazakhstan or Western Sahara. My wife said that was off the table, unless there was enough money to move all the grandchildren there, too.
My Plan B was to call the bank and tell them they’d made a mistake. It was about 9 p.m., but BS Stank advertises 24-hour banking, so I dialed them up. It took quite a while to get to talk to an actual person, but I didn’t really have a choice – the automatic menu selection just wasn’t providing the option I needed.
The person I spoke to wasn’t much help either. After I convinced her the money really was there and had been there for three weeks, she told me I had to call back during regular hours.
“You want me to call the bank BACK to try and give away $1 million?” I asked. “It took all my moral fiber to call once - I’m not sure I’m man enough to keep trying. Do you have any other advice for me?”
She said, “I’d advise you to not spend it.”
I called back the next day, after my wife reminded me. For some reason, I was having trouble remembering that it really wasn’t my money. It belonged to someone else. Of course, whomever it belonged to hadn’t noticed it was missing for three weeks. That makes me think they really didn’t deserve it.
Anyway, I called back again and went through the whole process. I thought it would go faster since surely someone would have been alerted to the fact that there was a guy out there with a valid passport and a whole lot of money. But the previous night’s banker hadn’t even left a sticky note for the day shift.
I realize banks have a lot of money, but even so, that seemed a little causal. The new guy I talked to promised to straighten things out. He asked if there was anything else he could do for me. I said, “Just be generous with the reward for being honest.”
He chuckled a little, but didn’t make any commitments.
He called back again a few hours later and said the money was no longer there. He said he offered his thanks for my honesty.
I said, “Is that all?”
He said he wanted to offer his sincere thanks for my honesty.
A few hours after that exchange, I got an email from the banker who had originally entered the wrong account number – I remembered her name from the copy of the deposit slip. I opened the email and found a message stating that “the lien on two Kenworth W900 semitrailers had been satisfied.” Not only did I not care about the trailers (because they weren’t mine either), she spelled “trailer” wrong. I was starting to think that BS Stank was having a little problem with attention to details.