In 1984, while working for Commercial Security Bank, in Price, Utah, as an Assistant Branch Manager, it was my responsibility to work with the Teller Supervisor to approve transactions that were out of the ordinary or in variance to our standard procedures. One afternoon that Supervisor came into my office with more of a statement than a request. She had a young couple, from out of state, who wanted to cash a check. They did not have an account with our bank. It was against our policy to cash out of state checks and she just wanted my confirmation to deny their request. She fully expected me to hold to the policy as we had done in the past. She was surprised when I asked her to invite the young couple into my office.
I don’t know why I asked them into my office; maybe it was they appeared to be about my age; maybe it was that they had a young daughter of similar age to my own. They came in and I asked them to sit down and tell me what they needed. The young father began to explain that they were traveling home to Texas from a visit they had made in Washington State. Just outside of Price their truck began to have mechanical problems and they were forced to stop and have it fixed. This was in the days before it was easy to get a credit card and there were no ATM machines. They started on the West end of town and stopped at each Bank in hopes they could cash a check to pay for the repair and be on their way. They had been turned away at each bank, which was not surprising to me – this was something we did several times a day. They were now at our Bank, the last bank on the very East end of town. They didn’t have much hope; they didn’t know what to do.
As we talked I noticed that the young man was wearing a belt buckle with the Scout emblem. I asked him if he was Scout. We talked briefly about his scouting experience. I asked what rank he had earned. He told me he was an Eagle Scout. I asked him one more question, “Do you have enough money in your account to cover the check you wish to cash?” He assured me he did. I took the young couple up to the teller line and instructed the teller to cash their check. I wished them well and a safe journey the rest of their way home. They were so grateful; they once again had hope of getting home.
When they had left, the Teller Supervisor came into my office surprised at what I had done. She wanted to know what assurances I had that the check would not be returned for insufficient funds. I said, “Just one; he is an Eagle Scout and he assured me he had sufficient funds to cover the check.” She left my office shaking her head knowing that we would never see the couple again and in a few days the check would be returned to us marked “Insufficient Funds.” She could not believe that I would take such great risks with the Bank’s money and accept that young man’s promise.
The days and weeks passed and the check was never returned to our Bank; it had been paid as agreed. I don’t remember the names of the young couple, but I still remember the value of a young man’s word, an Eagle Scout’s promise, which was given to me that day.
Author: David A. Rosen | has served Scouting in various roles and is a highly effective youth leader. Professionally, he is the General Manager of a Provo business.