A cancer patient walked into a bank with a protective mask last week and workers mistakenly believed he was a bank robber.
Joe Jaramillo went through a round of chemotherapy the day before the incident and was wearing the mask to fight off germs.
Before he knew what was happening the masked cancer patient was standing in the bank while surrounded by police officers.
Jaramillo tells KCAL9’s Cristy Fajarado:
“I felt so embarrassed and humiliated.”
Doing even simple tasks can be hard for Jaramillo and he explains his need for independence:
“I just wanted to do something on my own.”
Jaramillo traveled to the Wells Fargo branch against medical device. The cancer patient entered the bank to make a withdrawal on Friday morning when his surgical mask drew attention. As it turns out the FBI has been searching in California for the “Surgical Mask Bandit.” The bandit is wanted in at least two Orange County bank heists.
Speaking of the incident Jaramillo says:
“The next thing I know, I have six Montebello police officers around me, standing there saying, ‘Can you stand up, can you put your hands above your head’?’ What did I do? ‘Can you please stand up, sir?’ I go, ‘Really?’ This is so embarrassing, you have all these people at the bank [watching].”
The teller was told by Jaramillo that he was wearing the mask because he had undergone a round of chemotherapy the day prior.
Despite his chemotherapy story and the fact that he made no demands the teller stalled Mr. Jaramillo until police arrived.
Police eventually searched Jaramillo and his car and then apologized for the banks stupidity.
While Joe Jaramillo doesn’t fault police for taking action he is mad at the bank’s tellers and management for overreacting when he was simple conducting a quick and non-threatening action.
Wells Fargo has not yet issued a public apology to the cancer patient who turned out not be a bank robber.