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Danelle getting ready to brave the cold!

A Frozen Trip to Uncharted Territory

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It was a particularly freezing day in Dickinson, North Dakota. The “Polar Vortex” had set in, and the wind-chill was reaching -35°. Nevertheless, people were busy; in fact, local photographer Jessie saw an increase in business, and was juggling photo sessions while caring for her three young kids. Her husband, who is kept busy with his job in the oil field, happened to have a spare moment.

“Could you drop off this check at the bank for me?” she asked. “I just don’t have the time.”

He agreed and set off into the winter morning to drop off the check. He swung by Choice Bank, where Danelle Benz and Colette Obrigewitch were working. He pulled up to the drive-thru and handed over the check.

“Thank you!” he said, waving off the receipt.

When Danelle input the account number for the check — it didn’t go through. “We realized it was not our number. Her husband had dropped the check off at the wrong bank.”

Jessie has been a customer with Choice Bank for over 16 years. Danelle and Colette know her well. But when Danelle tried to input the account number for the check — it didn’t go through.

“We realized it was not our number,” Colette said. “Her husband had dropped the check off at the wrong bank.”

She quickly called Jessie to explain what had happened.

“I won’t be able to come in for a few days,” she explained. “Would you be able to hold it for me?”

Colette agreed. But as soon as she hung up, she looked at Danelle.

“What if we just run it over there for her?” she asked.

Danelle immediately agreed.

“I can do it,” Danelle said.

Colette called Jessie again.

“Hello, Jessie — we’ll just run the check over for you.”

Colette on the phone with Jessie letting her know Choice would make sure her deposit got to the right bank.

Jessie was shocked.

“Wait, really?” she sounded confused. “But it wasn’t your fault!”

“We know you’re booked up,” Colette added. “And we’re out and about already.”

“Wow…” Jessie paused. “I can’t believe you guys would do that for me.”

She shared which bank it was — yes, it was another community bank in town — but it didn’t matter to Colette and Danelle. They were just happy to help.

“It was cold, she’s self-employed and very busy, with three kids at home, and she likely needed that check deposited,” Colette said. “It was just the thing we needed to do.”

It was Danelle who bundled up and headed through the frigid temps to deliver the check. The windchill was well below zero and the roads were ice rinks.

The windchill was well below zero and the roads were ice rinks.

“We have a lot of hills here, so at stop signs and stop lights it was easy to start sliding downhill,” Danelle said. “And sometimes you’d have to go over snow drifts that had blown into the road.”

Despite this terrifying description, Danelle said this all with a smile.

“But my car was warm,” she added. “It was kind of like a mini field trip!”

Through snow, through winds, through icy roads, Danelle successfully delivered the check to the other bank. Jessie was able to get her work done and be with her family, and her check made it safely to its intended location. This, for Danelle and Colette, is what being #PeopleFirst looks like in action.

“I think of the core value, ‘Smile, be helpful, and be passionate,’” Danelle said. “It’s doing things that make our customers happy.”

“If I was really busy, it would be awesome to have someone go out of their way for me,” Colette added. “It’s showing compassion to our customers, and lending a hand when we can.”