The $1 Bandit

“What a life!” Sheila muttered as she got off the commuter bus that morning.

Sheila’s workday began, as usual, by being the first one into the bank…put away her lunch, start the coffee, check the overnight e-mail. Different day, same old thing…

The morning was uneventful until shortly before noon, when an older man walked up to Sheila’s teller window and handed her a note that said “This is a hold-up. Do as I tell you, and no one will get hurt.”

“How cliché” was her passing thought before deciding that her most important task was to attend to the man’s demands.

“Give me a buck and then press your alarm. I’ll wait for the police.”

Within minutes, two policemen edged into the bank, weapons drawn, looking around to determine what the problem was.

The $1 bandit put up his hands and said, “Take me to jail, I’m your robber.” Pointing he said, “Ask her, she’ll tell you.”

Sheila showed the robber’s note to the policemen and said “I don’t know why, but he only wanted a dollar. He didn’t hurt me or anyone else.”

After the police took the handcuffed man away, things at the bank returned to normal for the rest of the day. It wasn’t until Sheila saw the evening news that she learned the rest of the story: the $1 bandit had been unemployed for several years and was experiencing health problems. Without insurance, he couldn’t have his ailments treated so he decided to commit a jail-worthy crime in order to get the health care he needed. He never intended to hurt anyone and even sent an advance letter to the local newspaper to explain his actions.

Though not entirely convinced, Sheila decided to be grateful for what she had and thought “What a wonderful life…”


This post is inspired by the current “flash fiction” prompt (a story in approx. 300 words; inspiration word: life) at the Red Dress Club as well as by this week’s story about a real-life $1 robber (ABC News). I decided to tell the story from the perspective of the bank teller.

3 thoughts on “The $1 Bandit

  1. What a thoughtful robber, and what a sad situation to be in-that it comes to that for some people to get the care they need.

    I loved this story-it was a very original take on the prompt!

  2. Wow, that’s an interesting angle! And very plausible story – in my work I have come across a number of people for whom jail/prision is a safe home. Enjoying your writing!

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