Asthma

Calling it a loud situation would be an understatement. All the tempers involved were flared, and the customers around were receiving their fair share of the noise. An old woman who had her hearing aid on had to walk outside the banking hall; the noise that was being generated could affect her brain.

“NO! I said NO! I want my money and I want it now!” the man with the potbelly bellowed from the depth of his belly.

“Sir, we have tried our best to explain to you why we cannot allow you to withdraw all that money in just one day. If we allow you to, other customers cannot get…”

He did not even allow her to complete her statement.

“Shut up! Don’t even give me that bullshit at all! Other customers? How dare you even mention that? Where were those other customers when I was toiling to escape the poverty life threw me in? And where were they when I had to carry loads at Agbogbloshie market to support my siblings when my father died and my mother got paralyzed from the waist down? Madam, if I don’t get my money in the next few minutes, all of us in this bank will wear one dross.” A white child who was waiting in the banking hall with his mom asked her, “Mummy, what’s dross?” “Never heard it, son. Must be a suit or shirt or something.”

The security man must have been the most confused human being on Earth that very moment. As clients were pushing him to calm the angry man down, the teller was angrily signaling him not to touch the man or engage in anything physical. And the man himself too looked too rich to be messed about with. The security man kept going round in circles, not knowing what to do.

The bank manager was upstairs when he heard the cacophony. Initially, he thought it was one of the usual altercations that occurred between customers when some tried to jump the queue. But this one seemed to endure forever… like the faithfulness of the Lord. And unlike the faithfulness of the Lord, this one was undesired.

When the noise reached a crescendo, Mr. Manager rushed down the stairs.

“What is happening here?” he asked no one in particular. The teller responded.

“Sir, this man here wants to withdraw GHc800,000.“ The manager let out a low whistle.

“I respectfully told him that the bank would be crippled for the day if he took out that much, so we should please divide the amount into two. He started to insult me and things have been messy for the past few minutes.”

Mr. Manager humbly requested the rich man to follow him to his office, ostensibly to explain to him that, the bank was required to at each point, have a minimum of GHc500,000 in its coffers and that, taking out GHc800,000 from his account would harm their work, even though the withdrawal was perfectly allowed.

Five minutes later, both men came out. One wore a stubborn frown, the other looked angry. The angry man announced to the teller to initiate the process to clear the rich man’s account.

“I don’t really need all the money right now, but give it to me anyway. It’s my own money and I choose what to do with it,” he announced to everybody’s hearing.

The bank manager proceeded to address the clients.

“We are very sorry to announce this but anybody who is here for a withdrawal may be delayed for an hour or more. Our coffers have been cleared and we are now going to our sister branch, which is about 10 kilometers from here, for funds. Please bear with us in this most unfortunate…”

“Somebody, hold him!” the teller screamed.

Before anybody could figure out was what was happening, the rich man had clutched hard at his chest and was wildly gesticulating for an inhaler or something of the sort. Luckily, a nurse was in the queue and rushed to him, asking for the location of his inhaler; it was an asthma attack. He handed her the keys to his car and indicated that it was somewhere on his dashboard. He could not even speak. Right there in the banking hall, his shirt was ripped apart to free his chest and allow him to salvage what little oxygen he could. In under thirty seconds, the nurse returned with the salbutamol inhaler. The rich man took two puffs and like magic rose up from the floor where he had been lying on his back like a book on a table. When he had caught his breath, he turned to the manager.

“Manager, I wish to return half of what I withdrew. Forgive the wickedness I displayed earlier.”

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Some people proposed that his asthma attack was precipitated by karma, others also said it was due to the stress he worked himself into during the hot exchange. Yet more others said karma helped the stress to get him into the dangerous state he found himself in shortly after taking the money. But what do YOU say?

 

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