Chances are if you were contemplating robbing a bank, you’d probably be after some quick cash. But recently, a 59-year-old man had other intentions – robbing a local RBC Bank for health care.
It happened on June 9th and continues to surprise anyone who hears his story.
“This is the first time I’ve ever been in trouble with the law,” James Verone said from the Gaston County Jail. “I’m sort of a logical person and that was my logic. That was what I came up with.”
He didn’t have gun when he calmly approached the teller, just a note that read, “This is a bank robbery. Please only give me one dollar.” And then he casually walked away saying, “I’ll be sitting right over there in the chair waiting for the police.”
A truck driver all his life, he was a casualty of the economic downturn. Odd jobs came along, but health problems plagued the 59-year-old and soon he found himself out of work and running out of money. Not yet eligible for social security and battling a growth on his chest, two ruptured disks and a problem with his left foot, medical attention was what he needed, but how?
In a state of total desperation, he robbed a bank for $1, knowing he would certainly be sent to prison where he’d find food, shelter and the one thing he needed most of all – health care.
Manipulating the system? Absolutely.
“If it is called manipulation, then out of necessity because I need medical care then I guess I am manipulating the courts to get medical care,” Verone said.
Those with power and money in this world will never understand why James Verone did what he did one Thursday in June. They will look at him as a criminal or mentally ill, but not as an American who fell on hard times and simply did what he had to do to survive and get health care.
I suppose it’s easy for us to say that we’d never turn to such criminal activity if faced with the same circumstances. But then again, I can’t imagine any of us thinking we’d ever have to make such a choice.