I was 16 years old, standing in a long line at Amherst Savings Bank. This was 1975, when you still went to a bank building to do banking. It was after high school, and I was on a tight schedule to ride my bike to my job at the General Nutrition Center at the Hadley Mall. As the line inched toward the teller, I looked at my watch, trying to calculate what the chances were of me getting to my job on time, with the 12 people ahead of me in line.
A minute later, a gentleman in a suit came up to me and said “Sir, if you’ll step over here we can take care of you.” He nodded to a teller sitting at a desk behind the row of teller windows, and she came up to the window, opened it, and took care of my small deposit. When I asked her the name of my benefactor, she said that was the president of the bank. It blows me away today, all these years later, that the president, walking by, noticed, among the dozens of customers waiting, a 16-yr. old boy who seemed to be in a hurry.
I left Amherst, Massachusetts in 1976 after graduating high school, and rode my bicycle 4,200 miles across the country. When I hit California I stayed, and have been on the west coast ever since. But for decades after leaving Amherst, I maintained my account at the Amherst Savings Bank. The bank has long since closed, or been bought up. Today that building is a Bank of America. When I visit Amherst and go by that intersection, I always remember that afternoon when I was seen by the president.
It’s a reminder to me, who can I ‘see’, and help, if I’m not too busy with my own to-do list? What’s a time when you were ‘seen’ by someone who intervened in your life to make a difference?