So the big news around these parts yesterday was that a fast-thinking employee of a bank thwarted a bank heist by text message.
A man dressed in a suit and tie, driving a BMW, pulled up to a bank in Dedham, MA and pretended to be withdrawing money from an ATM just before the bank was opening for business. He forced his way into the bank, armed with a pellet gun and demanded access to the vault. One of the bank employees used her cell phone to text another bank manager at a nearby branch, who then alerted police. Two police officers working less than 100 yards away responded immediately and the thief was arrested.
This is amazing to me. The fact that the employee thought to alert another manager via text is astounding enough, but the fact that the bank employee had her cell phone with her at the time and opted to send a text message instead of dialing 911 is surprising. Couple that with the fact that the text was immediately received and the authorities alerted within minutes, make this a wondrous thing. What does this say about society's love affair with cell phones? It would seem that this is just another example of how having a cell phone with you at all times, for "emergencies", is a good idea.
I have been out of an office atmosphere for a few months now, but I do know that most employers frown upon employees having their cell phone with them during business hours. Yet-employees do it anyway. Most of us unable to part from our ever important cellular device-the outside connection to our own little world. My children have had cell phones for a few years now and on days like today, I question whether or not I should continue to chide them for their dependency on text use.
Here's the thing, what if the other bank manager didn't have his/her cell phone at the time the robbery was taking place? The employee at the bank where the robbery was taking place made a conscious decision to alert the danger via text instead of using 911. Did she take a chance on whether or not the other manager would receive the important alert? I think not. This tells me that she knew that the other bank manager would be sure to receive the text and that help would be on the way. If I were a betting man I would bet the farm that if phone records were checked, they would confirm that these two employees had been engaging in a text conversation prior to the robbery. This is by no means an accusation of wrong doing, just a statement of fact that illustrates society's texual revolution.
Interestingly enough, ABC News reported last night, (unrelated to the bank heist), that over three trillion text messages were sent last year alone. The Senate is questioning the phone companies over their overwhelming profits on text messaging. Phone companies charge the user .20 cents to send or receive a text when it costs them 3/10ths of .1 cent to transmit the message. Phone companies are being accused of price gouging by the Senate. The fact is that 600 text messages use just 1 minute of cellular network time, yet we the users, are being charged quadruple for what seems to be our preferred communication of choice. This translates into a virtual gold mine for the cell phone companies.
In light of yesterday's events and the recent uprising in Iran, where people used text messages, mobile devices and outlets like Twitter to have their voices heard and successfully shared information about important issues, solidifies the fact I am going to keep my mouth shut and gratefully pay my own and my children's cell phone bills. My peace of mind is worth it's weight in the phone companies gold.