When I was a kid, I was always confused when my parents said we “didn’t have the money” for something. I’d seen them take money out of the ATM with my own eyes – why didn’t they just go get some more?
Becoming older and wiser, I soon learned the sad truth of ATMs: you can’t just take out as much money as you like from them.
Except when you can.
Which brings us to knockabout larrikin hero Dan Saunders, who saw his ship come in the day an ATM began providing him with seemingly limitless funds. “Transaction cancelled,” said the screen, as the machine kept spitting out the bills and nothing coming off his bank balance.
It was clearly a technological malfunction. Dan knew that to take the money was wrong. But he also knew that it felt oh so right. By his own account he expected his good luck to last a week or so, rather than the four months it actually did. In that time he hired a private jet to take him and some friends on holiday on an Asian island, bought those friends extravagant gifts, ate the best of food and drank the best of wine and basically lived the life that any sensible fellow with a bottomless pit of cash would.
In four and a half months he took the glitching ATM for AUD$1.6 million, before asking himself, “Am I an international criminal who’s just going to transfer money away and never be seen again?”
The logical answer? YES, of COURSE you are, dummy! But Dan’s conscience overcame logic, and he turned himself in, spending a year inside for obtaining money by deception. Crazy world, when as innocent an activity as taking money that doesn’t belong to you is a “crime”. But still, we salute you, Dan Saunders. For four and a half months, you lived all our dreams.