It’s a fact of life that when faced with a moral dilemma, some people will do the honorable thing – and others will not. When it comes to finding money with no obvious owner, plenty would claim it for themselves. But one Scottish construction worker learnt that karma might be a tangible force.
Colin Banks is a construction worker from Scotland. And something happened to him recently that flung Banks into the media spotlight – with good reason. It was a truly life-changing event, and the story of how it all happened was so remarkable that it quickly went viral.
The story started on a normal day at the end of November 2017. Banks needed to pick up some groceries, and he took his daughter Zoe along with him. The two of them went to an Asda supermarket in Motherwell, a town near Glasgow.
As the father and daughter did their shopping, nothing seemed to be out of the ordinary. It was only when Banks spotted something out of the corner of his eye that the day took an unusual turn. He noticed an ATM that had some cash sticking out of it.
There was no one to be seen near the ATM itself, however. It was immediately clear to Banks that someone had withdrawn the cash moments before, but had somehow forgotten to collect the money from the dispenser. So, the builder decided to take action.
Banks could see that £30 was sticking out of the machine, which is the equivalent of $40. Considering that it was a relatively small sum, plenty of people would have claimed it for themselves. But not Banks. Instead, he decided to do the right thing.
Rather than pocketing the money, Banks and his daughter made sure to find a supermarket representative. He then gave the cash to the worker, in the hope that it would find its way back to its forgetful owner eventually. And onlookers were apparently impressed by his actions.
Zoe subsequently told The Sun that there were people watching what was going on. And a young couple who saw Banks hand the money in told the father and daughter that good karma was on its way for them, because of their kind and selfless act.
And they couldn’t have been more right. After handing the money to the supermarket worker, though, Banks didn’t even give it a second thought. He simply continued with his day, with no inkling that something momentous was about to happen.
Banks had been dabbling in the world of virtual racing for a few months and headed off to place some bets after he’d handed in the unclaimed money. He backed four horses in total, choosing a couple of them at random.
His first bet was on a horse called Richardson Lakes at 28/1, purely because he had a family member named Richard. He also chose three others at 20/1, 50/1 and 11/1, which meant that his odds of winning them all was a very unlikely 372,000/1.
But in a crazy twist of fate, Banks chose the winning combination and hit the jackpot. As a result, he won an incredible $65,000 from gambling giant Betfred, just a few minutes after handing in a stranger’s forgotten cash withdrawal. Banks simply couldn’t believe his luck.
What’s even more amazing is that Banks only put $2 on the horses, which made his returns even more extraordinary. Unsurprisingly, he described it as “easily my biggest win” during a subsequent interview with The Daily Telegraph.
Banks’ story just goes to show that there may be truth in the saying that “What goes around comes around.” Except in his case, he got a lot more cash back than he had originally handed in. And it didn’t take long for the national media to get hold of the story.
The incredible win featured in numerous newspapers, which gave Banks a chance to elaborate further on the incident. “They say honesty is the best policy… and it certainly was for me!” the builder told The Daily Telegraph.
When asked how he would celebrate, Banks said that he and his family were going to have a Christmas to remember. “I have a big family, and I’m now going to make sure we all have a brilliant time this Christmas, the best we as a family have ever had,” he stated.
Aside from spoiling his nearest and dearest, Banks revealed that he bought himself a used car – a Ford Focus, to be precise. Not only that, but he also treated himself to a few glasses of wine upon discovering his huge win.
According to the co-owner of Betfred, Fred Done, Banks’ win was one of the company’s biggest in the past 50 years. “Congratulations on emptying my pocket so quickly with such a tiny stake!” Done joked. “Christmas has come early for Colin.”
Banks’ awesome win should serve as a reminder to us all that good things really do happen to good people. And to top it off, he went back to the supermarket a few days later in order to check what had happened to the £30 that he’d found in the ATM.
It turned out that the guy who’d left the cash behind returned to the supermarket and retrieved what was rightfully his. “I suppose one good turn deserves another,” Banks said – and hopefully the chain of good citizenship will continue.