Technology failed me years ago. It was the first time I used an ATM. After years as a mother and working woman, I was about to return to graduate school and was already on edge.

The night before the first class I realized I was out of cash. Very early the next morning, I dashed out to the bank dressed in my nightgown and bathrobe.

I got the ATM window to open, put my bank card into the machine on the display and promptly, in my haste, put too many zeroes and asked to withdraw $1 million.

I looked at the display with terror, and the window closed, with my card inside.

A man approached the ATM, but I was just staring at it, and he was staring at me.

“I just withdrew $1 million,” I screamed. I ran home, called a bank emergency number and, in tears, explained the situation.

“Do you have a million in the bank?” I was asked.

“No way,” I replied.

“Then don’t worry,” said the person on the other end of the line.

The bank canceled my card and would later send a new one, but off I went to my first day of grad school still scared and wondering if I’d put my family into debt.

Joyce Siegel,


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