Published January 14, 2015
A Florida man born without arms says a Tampa bank would not let him cash a check because he couldn't provide a thumbprint.
It was supposed to be a quick stop at the Bank of America.
"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. 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.
Bank of America spokeswoman Nicole Nastacie says the bank should have "offered alternative requirements if an individual is not able to give a thumbprint."
Valdez had a message for them too:
"They need to alter their policies and procedures, or have alternate plans should something conflict with that."