Updated: Jan 13
A Nigerian-American doctor, Anthony Onyegbula went to United Community Bank in Georgia, in the U.S., to open a new bank account when a teller mistook him for a bank robber.
Onyegbula went out of the banking hall to call his wife on phone but the bank teller locked him out at around 2.10 pm. “I looked at the door and it said close at 4:30 and my time say about 2:15, 2:10. I’m like what happened?” Onyegbula said.
The teller then placed a 911 call on the oncologist who works from the metro Atlanta suburb of Henry County. In what Onyegbula believes is a case of racial profiling, the teller claims he looked suspicious wearing a hat and using a phone in front of the bank.
“They said I was suspicious, I was wearing a hat, and they thought I wanted to rob the bank, and I was like, ‘What?’” Onyegbula told WSB-TV. “Until it happens to you, you never know what it feels like.”
The transcript of the 911 call was published by WSB-TV. In a clear case of judging people by their mere appearance, the teller concluded the doctor was up to no good and described him as a menacing character.
“He went to the front door and he’s been on his phone, and, I, um, called from my phone to tell the employees to lock the front door,” the bank teller tells the dispatcher. “He’s been on his phone out front, and we have no cars out in the parking lot. “He’s a walker, so I feel like he’s up to no good,” she added.
Unaware of what had transpired in United Community bank for him to be locked out, Onyegbula and his wife went to another bank to open the account. There, they saw the police approach them and they realised what the issue at hand was.
“Here come the same police, came inside the bank, now it’s two of them, and they said they told the manager to clear the room because they wanted to talk to us.” Onyegbula added that “You cannot judge someone from the outside.”
However, the police didn’t file any charges after their short interaction with the couple. Though no charges were filed, the incident has left the doctor and his wife traumatized, adding that the “anger, embarrassment and confusion he feels won’t be going anywhere for a while,” WBS-TV reports.
The United Community Bank released a statement apologizing to the couple whiles taking a stance to protect the teller in the said incidence by claiming not to publicly comment on customer transactions. The bak also indicated that it would not divulge “details of any customer or potential customer transactions.”
“However, providing excellent customer service is our top priority and we are disappointed that we didn’t deliver that to Drs. Onyegbula and Tedga in this case,” the statement continued.
“This afternoon we were able to speak directly with Drs. Onyegbula and Tedga to personally apologize for the misunderstanding. We are glad for the opportunity to connect and improve and hope to have an opportunity to earn their business in the future.”