If I did this today, I would probably be shot!

by Jay Culotta

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While attending Tulane University in the early 1970s, I had a part-time job at First Homestead, a savings and loan located on the corner of Baronne St. and Gravier St. in the CBD of New Orleans.
My primary job was as a gopher and office boy to assist Peter, an elderly gentleman who was one of the kindest, friendliest men I had ever had to pleasure to know.
Every day we arrived before everyone else to open the door and greet the other employees as they arrived and to stand guard at the entrance. This was before armed guards were necessary, even though there were occasional, but rare robberies.
For me, this was especially enjoyable since I was young, single and it allowed me to watch all the attractive young ladies that walked by on their way to work.
Our duties included opening the mail and distributing it to the appropriate parties, collecting outgoing mail and preparing it properly to deliver to the Post Office each day by weighing and applying the correct postage with the Pitney Bowes postage meter, keeping the employee kitchen neat and tidy, making coffee, general janitorial work during the day if necessary until the cleaning crew arrived after hours (including unstopping toilets), purchasing the office supplies and keeping the storeroom organized, running errands for all the other employees, delivering legal documents to the various attorneys’ offices, etc.
However, our most important job each day was to take the daily deposits to the appropriate banks, such as the Whitney, Hibernia, NBC to name a few. They were all within a few blocks, all within walking distance.
Most deposits were checks and some cash, usually a few coins and most of the time Peter or I could usually take the whole deposit in a few small zipper bags or maybe one larger bags. Most deposits averaged around $45,000 if my memory is correct, but we had some in the $100,000-200,000 range, mostly all checks. The cash was usually around $5,000-$10,000.
However, I will never forget this one particular day we had an unusual amount of coins and I had to carry TWO large bags, one on each side. They were so heavy that I could only walk about 15 feet before I would have to stop and rest a few seconds before resuming my journey.
I was constantly looking around to see if anyone was watching me (as if this unarmed, skinny 5’-6”, 135 lb. kid could have done anything about it) and I can only imagine how comical I must have looked to those who actually did notice.
Thankfully I only had to go to the Hibernia Bank that was further down the block on Gravier St. towards the river, so it was not that far. But it was SO obvious what I was carrying that if anyone today would even think of trying this, they wouldn’t last two minutes before someone would knock them out or shoot them and rob them!
By the time I got to the bank, especially since this was in the middle of the summer, I was dripping with sweat, physically and emotionally exhausted.
I remember that when I left the bank, I folded the bags so they were not so conspicuous, figuring I had pushed my luck enough!
I have often thought of this experience and thanked the Lord for His protection because any number of things could have happened to me that day, but He is faithful to always watch over us and protect us.

“The Lord shall preserve you from all evil;
He shall preserve your soul.

The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in
From this time forth, and even forevermore.”—Psalm 121:7–8 NKJV

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