It wasn’t his usual routine, but Fred Tinnemeyer drove up to the drive-through window at Bank of Hays early Thursday afternoon and asked teller Nicki Hall to withdraw $10 from his savings account.
What he got instead completely surprised him.
“I opened it up and there was $100,” Tinnemeyer said, recalling that as he did so he noticed a woman at the window next to him speed away in an older model car he remembers as a silver Buick.
Hall says it’s the first time in her five years at the bank that she’s ever seen anything like it: Another customer at the drive-up directed a teller to give Fred $100 from her own account.
“I was helping Fred and there was a customer in Lane 1,” Hall recalled. “The other teller handed me the money and told me to pass it along to Fred and tell him to have a good day.”
Stunned, Tinnemeyer deeply wished he could say thank you to the Mystery Woman at the Bank of Hays who had graced his day. Driving by the Hays Daily News, he decided to stop and tell what happened, moved by the generosity and kindness of the benevolent bandit who stole his winter doldrums.
“What happened to me, it definitely made my day. Who's happy in January? It’s dreary and dirty and gray,” Tinnemeyer said. “I wish there was a way I could thank her. Maybe she’ll read this. Kindness is a hard thing to find these days and she could have given that money to anybody, it was a miracle. But why me? I guess I was in the right place at the right time.”
Born in Wichita and raised in Colorado, Tinnemeyer has been a resident of Hays since 2007.
“I’m on disability,” he explained, saying he plans to put the money into the savings fund that he keeps for a vacation every year to St. George, Utah. It’s a small city with palm trees about an hour from Las Vegas, he said, where “I generally go in the summer when it’s nice and hot.”
If he’d done what he usually does at the bank, it probably wouldn’t have happened.
“It did catch me off guard,” Tinnemeyer said. “Normally I always walk in the bank, just to be more human and personal.”
And that’s why Hall, a teller supervisor, can say what she said: “Absolutely” she was happy for Fred.
“He’s a good guy, we all know him. He comes in and he’s always polite,” she said. “It was very well-deserving, it couldn’t happen to a better person.”
Being a 47-year-old single guy who confesses he’d like to change that status, he’s not sure the sum will improve his chances with the ladies.
“You gotta either be in your 20s or have a lot of money,” he said, but that’s OK. “It made my day, it’s the generosity, the kindness. Not too many things happen that are good, and I wasn’t having such a good day, I have the winter blues right now. This definitely put some sunshine in my soul. It meant a lot to me.”