I stood before the ATM with my ATM card in hand, hunger had really dealt with me over the last weeks and January had over stayed its welcome; lasting for like eternity. I inserted the card, I knew it was a foolish attempt for I do receive alert on payment of my monthly NYSC allowance which I was yet to receive at the moment but I had to just try, an attempt won’t be a bad idea.
I punched on the ATM and did the initials to inquire my account balance. The result set my soul on a high tempo. I had thought maybe network had delayed the alert from entering, thereby the money breathing peacefully in my account. But it was contrary to my thought, the screen of the ATM portrayed depressing figures that nearly made me drop a tear. Immediately I saw the figures, my belly grumbled louder. It read thus; “…..balance four hundred and fifty naira….”
I ejected my card and went back to the security post where I was seated and chatted with the security men; killing time. I had sat there for the past three hours waiting for the alert to buzz in. I had decided that it would either buzz in today or I won’t report to my PPA next week, it was on a Friday.
Different messages sprang me up with hope, but MTN and Airtel SMS weren’t what I needed at the moment. Some minutes later my phone held in my palm vibrated and sent a pang of hope in me. They was something about this particular SMS that made me feel it was the “Messiah “. I unlocked my Nokia phone to behold what I was waiting for; alert from Unity Bank that I had been credited with 19800 naira for my January allowance.
My lips forced a wide grin. Exhilaratingly, I got up and headed back to the ATM. I brought out my wallet from my pocket and took out my green Unity Bank ATM card, within seconds, I slotted it in and typed my code. It took me to the option where I could withdraw, make inquiries et al, I punched on the withdraw icon without wanting to know my balance; it was inconsequential at the moment, I thought.
I selected the amount I wanted to withdraw, five thousand naira would do for my upkeep at the moment. “Please wait while your transaction is processing,” the familiar stereotyped female voice blared from the ATM. I waited for the machine to count my money, but it didn’t flinch. I didn’t hear a single sound. I was tensed, my heart beat raced, what was happening. I couldn’t fathom why it didn’t count my money. My breathing rose to a high crescendo and then the message came.
“Card issuer inappropriate”
What I just used now some minutes ago? My anger grew to its peak after several attempts that brought same result. I needed a second plan and i thought of what to do. The only way was going to their branch to complain. It would have been easy if only I could register in my head where their closest branch was located. It was a fifty minutes walk down the road.
Why should I trek that far because I wanted to save money. It was a useless thought in totality. I put my ATM card back to its compartment in my wallet where it belong and searched my money compartment and the worst happened. The money I was hoping on to board a keke down to the closest Unity Bank had grown legs and found its way out of my wallet.
With a depressing huff, I prepared myself for a long walk down redemption lane.
- N’austin Malizu.