We don’t spend much time thinking about ATMs.
No matter who you are or where you leave, ATMs are typically just a convenient way to get cash out that stops you having to wait in line at a branch bank. In general, they’re either working fine or they’re out of commission for whatever reason, but they’re not all that interesting… right?
As it turns out, one story out of India may change the way you think about ATMs for the rest of your life.
The story takes place in the Indian state of Assam at an ATM like any other.
Everything started when the locals noticed that the ATM they frequented was starting to glitch out and not work. This went on for several days before the State Bank of India, the bank in charge of the unit, decided to send an inspector out to determine what was wrong with it. After opening it up to take a look at the insides, the inspector was shocked at what he had found.
As it turns out, a rat had somehow snuck into the machine and caused extensive damages.
The rat had had been small enough to sneak past the ATM’s security camera and had died inside the machine.
Still, the feisty little animal had also tried to make a nest out of the inside… including the cash. After counting everything up, the little animal had shredded and eaten approximately $17,685 worth of cash—nearly half of all the money inside the machine! Chandan Sharma, SBI’s branch manager in charge of the bank in question, gave statements to various news organizations about the bizarre occurrence. “We have started an investigation into this rare incident,” he said, “and will take measures to prevent a recurrence.”
Needless to say, this simple story gradually got international attention.
All told, the story was covered by news outlets including the New York Post, CBS News and The Sun.
News editor Nandan Pratim Sharma Bordoloi even posted a video of what investigators found on Twitter for everyone to see:
Really Size doesn’t matter!! What a rat this is! Rat-bitten bank notes worth Rs 12 lakh 38 thousand. Torn notes and dead rat found inside ATM in Tinsukia Assam. Rat found dead before little one could bite remaining Rs 17 lakh 10 thousand. pic.twitter.com/3Omns7gAZH
— Nandan Pratim Sharma Bordoloi 🇮🇳 (@NANDANPRATIM) June 18, 2018
Still, better the bank’s insured money than money someone had stashed away at home, right?
As it turns out, this is not the only time something like this has happened.
A similar story happened as far back as April 2007 in Tallinn, Estonia. Just the like the story we listed above, a little mouse managed to sneak its way into the machine and cause chaos for anyone trying to get money out of it. The story broke after a customer got several half-eaten bills out of the machine. The bank in question was Hansapank Bank, and Kristina Tamberg served as spokeswoman on that occasion:
“At some stage over the weekend the chewed money jammed, and the mouse seems to have spent the rest of the weekend turning the notes into bedding. It probably was attracted by the warmth from the machine and decided to make itself at home.”
Who knew this was such a common occurrence?
After some preliminary investigation, police and other officials in India found no signs of any foul play with the ATM.
Just as with the story out of Estonia, all the commotion was caused simply by a curious animal looking for a place to call home. Because SBI is the largest bank in India and has more than 50,000 ATMs throughout the country, the organization will not be particularly hurt by this strange incident. The bills will be replaced and life will go on as normal—though nobody is likely to forget what they saw that day.
Remember these stories the next time your local ATM is broken down!
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