Saturday, August 01, 2009

Bank robbery--foiled by bad vocabulary?

We read this in the Seattle Times this morning. It's a story about a bank employee fired for chasing down a robber. What jumped out at us, though, was this section of the story:
When the man came into the bank, at 434 Queen Anne Ave. N., dressed in a knit cap on one of the hottest days of the year, Nicholson says he was immediately uneasy. The suspicious-looking man walked in and out of the bank, then got in the teller line, then stepped out of line.

When he finally approached the counter, he walked toward Nicholson and said, "This is a ransom, fill the bag with money," Nicholson said.

Hearing the word "ransom," Nicholson stopped for a second and asked to see the man's gun.

The man said, "It's a verbal ransom." Nicholson then lunged over the counter at him.

"My intent was to grab his glasses off his face, or him," Nicholson said.

Fortunately for Nicholson, the man wasn't armed.
Interesting! When the robber used the wrong word, the bank teller decided he was a joker. Had the robber said, "This is a robbery," he might have intimidated the teller and gotten away. It just goes to show that when you use the wrong word, people take you less seriously--even when you say you have a gun.

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