#3 ATM

Mohamed Thiam
2 min readMay 6, 2022

It’s 2001, and we’re teenagers.

We wrapped up a week of exams and are finally enjoying our weekend. With me are Lisa, Djiby, and Rasseck.

Djiby is probably the darkest dude you’ve ever seen in your life. Lisa is your go-to girl for a sweet playlist. She and Djiby are inseparable. And finally, Rasseck — a beast of a man on both the X and Y axes.

Anyhow, it turns out Lisa had borrowed Djiby some money, so we accompanied her to a close-by ATM so she could pull some cash out.

I take the opportunity to sit on the curb and rest my feet. We’d been walking all day.

Djiby leans on the wall next to the ATM. He and Lisa are talking about some random shit. Rasseck is fumbling with his keys while on the phone with someone.

I relax my body and close my eyes for a minute.

Did you pull out money?

I realize a woman standing in front of me is talking to us. I put my hand over my eyes for some shade to take a better look at her.

I look back. Lisa is holding crisp new bills in her hand, so I turn to the woman to let her know that the ATM is indeed working.

I’m about to ask her if she was having trouble with it when she turns to Lisa wide-eyed and asks her if she’s being robbed.

It gets real quiet. We are all confused and taken aback. And then all hell broke loose.

Karen’s daughter decides to join the party. Her hubby follows soon after.

Angry and disappointed, I stand up. Djiby is retaliating while Rasseck pulls him and Lisa and begins to walk away.

I stand there staring at the family.

I’m hurt. But more so, I feel weird. I can’t understand how a complete stranger could be so quick to judge someone like that.

All that we overcame, the struggles, the perseverance, the victories, everything we had worked so hard to accomplish until then vanished in an instant under the gaze of a single person.

A single person who, from the looks of it, is lacking. Lacking in love? Lacking in empathy? Lacking in support? I’m not sure, and I don’t care.

I feel sorry for her. I feel sorry for all of them.

I look at them one last time, put my hands in my pockets, and spit on the ground, as I turn around to rejoin my crew.

Racism, I think to myself, what a sad thing.



Mohamed Thiam

Pragmatic dreamer ✨ Joy harvester 🎨 I bust the myth of the ‘hungry artist’ by coaching creatives to turn their knowledge into profitable online courses.