One Stupid Decision Away

There’s a saying I heard recently that goes something like this: ‘We are all just one stupid decision away from doing something that can negatively affect the rest of our lives.’ As I sat in the bank today waiting for one of the bank managers to fill out and print off all the documents needed for me to sign to change my banking profile, I thought of another story that paralleled mine today:

A young man was camping and was so hungry he couldn’t wait for the hamburgers on the barbecue to finish cooking, so he ate a partial patty that was raw inside. Hours later he was in the hospital, in ICU, on life support battling for his life. E Coli poisoning. The parents held a bedside vigil praying and waiting for signs that he would recover. He did but barely. When he was somewhat coherent the mother asked him what he had done. He told her that he’d ingested the hamburger and after he did he knew, just knew, he’d done something terribly wrong.

So did I. It happened this morning just upon rising from a deep relaxed sleep. I went online and saw what appeared to be a bank notification that my account was frozen due to a compromised issue. If I wanted to access it I needed to answer security questions. I hit on the link and proceeded to write out all kinds of personal and sensitive information. I ignored that little nagging voice that I heard. Don’t do this. Something is wrong here.

I hit send.

I dressed for a jog and left my house. An hour later, huffing and puffing up one of the steep hills on my route, that voice shouted in my ear. I stopped immediately, pulled out my cell, reached for my bank card and on the back was a 1-800 number. I dialled, still out of breath, and asked the person on the other line if that email was sent by them, the bank. He put me on hold. Minutes later he returned and told me the bad news. No. Wasn’t them. And so the rest of the day was spent on the phone alerting the institutions that needed to be notified, many of them had me on hold for 45 minutes. I put two warnings on my credit account (two different credit agencies) that will last six years. This stops anyone from trying to get credit using the information I stupidly gave them. I filed a report of this incident with an agency designed to look after this issue. I went back to my bank branch and told one of the supervisors what had happened. He called his superior. It was decided that my account and everything affiliated with it needed to be closed and new ones be opened. So that’s what I did.

How humbling. One stupid decision can totally change the course of your life. Wake up. Live in the present. Life is happening now.

I knew when I answered the questions that something was wrong. I ignored my survival instinct nudging me and did it anyway. Was it the inability to understand that someone (anyone) was trying to scam me? Has my naiveté about the hard cruel world that is certainly deceptive and full of criminal acts and people just looking for sitting ducks, thick-skulled me into putting myself into such harm’s way? I thought about that young man on life-support who nearly died because he made that near-fatal decision, to eat something he knew he shouldn’t.

Take a chance.

Jay-walking, running a yellow light, answering a fraudulent email, eating something suspected to be ‘off,’ turning left instead of right…

It only takes a second.

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