They asked an armless man for his fingerprint.
Bank asks armless man for thumbprint - 'This is in violation of federal law'
Published : Wednesday, 02 Sep 2009, 5:18 AM EDT, Gloria Gomez Gloria Gomez
TAMPA - It was supposed to be a quick stop at the Bank of America in downtown Tampa.
"I said, 'I'm going to run over downtown on my break, cash the check and bring the cash back.' No big deal," Steve Valdez said. "It turned out to be a very big deal."
Valdez said he was cashing a check from his wife, who has an account at Bank of America. But the teller told Valdez she needed a thumbprint in order to cash it -- it was company policy.
It's not that Valdez didn't want to provide it. He couldn't provide it, and the teller even acknowledged it.
"'It's obvious that you can't give us a thumbprint.' She goes, 'Let me go check with my supervisor,'" Valdez recalled the teller told him.
Valdez was born without arms and wears prosthetic devices. While at the bank, Valdez said he provided two photo IDs. And still that wasn't enough, although, the bank supervisor offered him two options.
"One is, you can bring your wife with you. And the other one, you can open up an account with us. And I said, no, I don't think so," Valdez added.
Valdez said he reminded bank officials the American for Disabilities Act would have a problem with their unfair treatment, but that didn't seem to bother them.
"You do realize this is in violation of federal law and really you haven't heard the end of it," Valdez said. "And she goes, 'Whatever.'"
They never let Valdez cash his check, but he said days later he received a phone call from a bank regional manager with an apology.
Valdez had a message for them too:
"They need to alter their policies and procedures, or have alternate plans should something conflict with that.
I understand that this can come across as a problem.
But it is absolutely and positively feasible and possible to fingerprint my prosthetic hand. I see no reason whatsoever to not fingerprint that prosthetic hand. Put a protective glove on and Bob's your uncle. Obviously such prints will probably somewhat difficult to interpret. But since when is that my problem?
So if at any time someone needs my fingerprint so I can get money, I guarantee you there'll be black smears all over the place and no sad face anywhere.
Furthermore, no one said you have to rely on cheap PVC gloves. Get yourself decent REGAL silicone gloves for your prosthetic hands and you will even get some finger ridge pattern on the finger tips. Then there is definitely no need to have to step back from community happenings such as fingerprinting!