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Celebrating OUR 100TH Year

Making Sure Mom Got Home Safely

On a quiet evening in the mid-1930s, a single mom was driving home with her young daughter. The little girl mostly watched the silhouettes of the mountains rising up and down on the horizon, but after a while, she noticed her mom checking her rearview mirror every few seconds. The girl looked back: a pickup truck sputtered behind them.

The mom took a left. So did the truck. The mom turned down a side street. So did the truck. The girl noticed her mom getting agitated. She tapped frantically on the steering wheel.

“What’s wrong, Mama?” the girl asked.

“Nothing, baby,” the mom said, glancing in each of the parking lots they passed, then looking back at the pickup truck, still trailing behind.

The mom looked to her left and saw a car in the parking lot of American Building & Loan (now Opportunity Bank). She quickly turned into the parking lot, got the little girl out of the car, and looked over her shoulder at the pickup truck, slowly driving up to the parking lot. They ran inside the building and shut the door behind them.

The bank employee started to tell the mom that they were closing, but before he could even open his mouth she said, “I know it’s probably closing time. But I think somebody’s following me. Could we just stay in here a few minutes?”

“Of course, ma’am,” he said. The little girl sat in one of the big chairs and drew a picture of the mountains on a scrap piece of paper. The bank employee and the mom made pleasant conversation for a while, but all the while, the mom glanced nervously out the window.

“If you give me a few minutes to lock up,” the bank employee said, “I’d be happy to escort you home, to make sure you get there safely.”

“Oh, no,” the mom said. “We’ve bothered you enough.”

“Not at all,” the employee said, grabbing the keys and shutting off the lights. “I really insist.”

The mom and the little girl hopped back in their car. The little girl once again watched the mountains go up and down along the horizon, this time watching the bank man’s car putter behind them. The pickup truck was nowhere to be seen.

When they finally pulled into their driveway, the bank employee walked the to their door, made sure they got inside safely, and left his personal address and phone number in case they needed anything.

Nearly sixty years later the little girl—now an old woman—relayed the story as a long-time customer at the bank’s 85th anniversary celebration. She never had forgotten that bank man who helped her scared mother get home one evening in Montana.