An ATM Travel Tale

Cursing his luck, Gordon exclaimed, “Ginette, we have a problem!” as he returned from his trip to the bank to get some Bolivianos.

“The bank machine ate my card. I inserted my card, and nothing happened then the ATM did this re-booting process but still nothing.”

Annoyed, Gordon swiftly turned and left the room. Apparently, chuckling was not the supportive response he needed.

With the assistance of the hotel receptionist, Gordon contacted the ATM helpline listed on the bank machine (which is independent of the bank it serves.)

“So, today is Hallomas or All Saints Day, a national holiday and they say no one is working. Tomorrow they’ll look into it, meaning it could be a week!”

This minor incident changed our plans; the intent was to spend as little time in the big city as possible. Recovering the card had to wait so we decided to make the best of it and tour Bolivia’s capital of 1.5 million people.

Later, back at our hostel, “Ginette, you’ll never guess what happened?”

Gordon was in the lobby, chatting with a New Zealand guest, telling him his frustration with the bank and it turns out the same thing had happened to him earlier.

He replied, “I was in a panic, it was our only debit card, and I needed the money to pay for the hostel and our bus fare. I called the ATM company and got the same story as you. But we’re leaving town today, so I got a little upset and shook the machine around a bit, and the front cover came off, so I reached in and got my card back.”

Let us add that this fellow was 6′ 3″ and maybe 225 lbs, very fit and was a former pro rugby player in N.Z. Gordon asked him if he could help him out and he said, “absolutely.”

Together they walked up to the ATM location. New Zealand guy gave Gord a wink and latched his two big hands on the machine, and pulled the front open. Gordon reached in, took his bank card, and they walked away laughing and joking.

After the buzz had diminished, they were a bit concerned about the fact that the ATM had a security camera and they could be in a bit of trouble for stealing their cards back.

During our time in Bolivia, Gordon remained hesitant to use his bank card, but to date (and we are no longer in Bolivia) his worries are minimal.

13 thoughts on “An ATM Travel Tale

  1. Hilarious! What a great travel story though I bet it was not so funny when the ATM swallowed the card. I remember well how Don and I would be so anxious every time we put our cards into ATM’s in 3rd world countries when we first started travelling. We’re more relaxed about it now, but knock on wood that we never have a problem. Still it’s good to know you can always just pull the front off of it. Chuckle.

  2. Pingback: High in La Paz, Bolivia | White Postcards

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