Friday, September 2, 2011

Favorite Closing Day Moment

You'd think that my favorite moment yesterday was when I signed the 7,971,052nd form and was told I was done or when I was officially handed the keys to my new home or when I walked into my home for the first time as the owner or even when the doorbell rang and Tim, Michael, and Wini were standing at the door with wine and champagne to toast my home. And you'd be wrong.

My favorite moment happened about an hour after closing when I ran over to Chase Bank in downtown Lake Forest to deposit the money I received back from my closing payment (I had overpaid by a little).

I pulled into the drive-thru exhausted, just wanting to run my errand, and get back to the condo. I was rushing, thinking about the huge to do list that awaited me, and not really in the present when I sent my money through the little machine and waited for the teller at the other end to send me my receipt.

About a minute or two later, I heard a voice and saw a face on the video screen...

"Ms. Gardner?"


"Did it all work out? Did you close on your condo? Are you a homeowner now?"

I was stopped cold with surprise. This was the teller who prepared my cashier's check on Wednesday with my down-payment. When she saw me on Wednesday, I was a mess of emotions. My mortgage broker, Bob Degen, had sent me over to Chase to get the money for my down-payment (but probably also so I'd get some air and focus on something else as I was in a panic), while he worked his magic to make sure all the final i's were dotted and t's were crossed, even though we had some last minute problems. While I was at Chase, I ran into a co-worker and we chatted about my condo while this delightful teller prepared the cashier's check.

"Yes! I am! It all worked out and I officially own my own home! I can't believe you remembered! Thank you so much!"

"Of course I remembered, it's not every day I get to help make someone's dream of being a homeowner come true. Congratulations! I'm really happy for you and look forward to seeing you in the bank more often."

"Thank you! You'll definitely see me soon! Have a great day!"

You know, I've banked Chase in Arlington Heights since I moved back to Chicago in 2000. My family has banked there since 1975 and I opened my first checking accounts there in 1989 when I went to college (of course, back then, it was a predecessor to Chase). At no point have I ever walked into Chase in Arlington Heights or pulled into the drive-thru and been greeted by name. I've only continued to bank there because my entire family banks there and that made it convenient.

But my first day of living in Lake Forest/Lake Bluff and the bank teller greets me by name and takes a sincere interest in me. It was my favorite moment of the day.

As I sit here and type up this story, all day long, I've wanted to call Nana and tell her all about my new home, but it just hit me that I didn't need to call her (even though I obviously can't) because she came to me. She was a banker for 40 years at what's now Bank of America. She greeted each of her customers by name and remembered their life stories - their kids, spouses, homes, births, deaths, new jobs, etc. Clearly the lovely woman at Chase was channeling Nana.

And that's why it was the best moment of my day.


  1. "Clearly the lovely woman at Chase was channeling Nana." That is EXACTLY what I thought as I read your post, even before I saw this sentence!

  2. I swear to you Sonya, it didn't even occur to me that's what was happening until I wrote this blog post! I was so not "in the moment"! But thinking about it, I get goosebumps.


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