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September 20, 2011

Notary is pushed off stairs by borrower!

Well, I thought I had heard it all.  I hear a lot of wonderful, interesting tales here at 123 from our members. Some are entertaining and funny while others are very sad and depressing. This, unfortunately is one of these stories and unfortunately it is the worst to date. It is nothing short of horrendous and shameful. Although I have her permission to tell her story, I promised her I would not reveal her or the area she lives in. So, here we go…

This particular notary public who is female took a signing from a signing company, she confirmed her appointment, prepared her docs and met her borrower at the the specified time. As she went through the documents, he saw that his interest rate was 1/2 percent more than he had been told. He then became enraged. He requested (using vulgarity) that she leave his home immediately. She packed up her things up and prepared to leave the premises.  As she proceeded to the door the  borrower followed, continuing to rant and rave using foul language incessantly. He was VERY angry with this 1/2 of a percent increase that nobody had bothered to inform him of (sadly, a  story we all are familiar with and have heard many times)  and, to top it to make matters even worse off, the loan officer had not been in contact with him and had been unreachable for several days.

So, as she walked out of the door onto his front porch. There were 4 steps to go down to the walkway that would lead to her car… But, before she could take that first step — with the force of both of his hands on her shoulders he pushed her down and off the porch. She went flying off the porch, and by the grace of God she somehow pivoted her body onto the grass instead of his cemented walkway  that was directly in front of her but unfortunately in trying to break her fall she broke her left wrist. In disbelief and shock she just laid there. The borrower went back into the house and shut and locked his door.  However, fortunately for her, the borrower’s neighbor who was mowing his lawn at the time witnessed the whole thing. He called out to his wife to call the police and the paramedics and he came to her aid and sat with her until they arrived. (A knight in shining armor). The paramedics attended to her and after the police got the story from both the notary and the neighbor one of the officers went to the door of the borrower , rang the bell and the borrower did not answer. At that point the officer yelled out to him to open the door or else. He did eventually open the door, and then was immediately  handcuffed and  placed under arrest and was put in the back of the police car.

Now folks get this — as the paramedics worked on our notary public to prepare her for the trip to the hospital and the police filled out their report the borrower (hand cuffed in the back seat of the police car) was still ranting  and raving non stop with vulgarities that they (the police and paramedics) needed to get this you know what off his grass and property. One of the police officers obviously fed up with this behavior as well as the noise went over to the borrower and told him that he needed to shut up and slammed the car door. He then asked the neighbor if this  behavior was characteristic  of this man. The neighbor and the wife just looked at each other and nodded yes… I just cant believe this man and his behavior, I am still in awe of all of it.

The paramedics said that if she had fallen  onto the concrete instead of the grass she would have broken both wrists and god knows what else in the process. All things  considered she was lucky-it could have been way worse.

She ended up staying in the hospital of 4-5 days instead of the day and half  she was originally told due to an infection she developed in her wrist.

Now it is 1 month later and she is finally back to work. She is healing well I asked her how she felt about her career now (she is a full time  signing agent) and if she felt like giving it up…and she said no way. She says she loves her job and knew this was just something that happened. Kudos to her! She and DA have filed charges and he has 3 counts against him and there will be a civil suit as well. I hope he gets ALL that is coming to him….I say throw the book at him.

Now, of course the signing service that gave her the assignment wants to know why the loan wasn’t closed. Well get this; When she called in to tell them  what had happened from the hospital — the person on the other end of the line laughed and said “you could have come up with a better excuse than that”. So, in order to clear her name she had to send in the police report, hospital records etc….( and yes she did manage to call the day of the signing)

So, all of this leaves me with a few thoughts. I really feel that this could have been avoided if the loan officer had done his job. This is so often the case where the loan officer knows exactly what the numbers are way ahead of time but avoids sharing this information with the borrowers and we go out at the final hour when they know these borrowers are desperate and for the most part are stuck and cant turn back now, and they regrettably just sign. And we get stuck in middle — and in this case — pushed down a flight of stairs. Now some of you will disagree and put up a fuss but this is why when I call and confirm with the borrowers I ask them has the loan officer been in touch and have they gone over the figures with them. If the answer is yes then I ask them what are the numbers supposed to be. This way if the number con-inside with what I see, we are good. If not, I can alert the hiring party that we have a problem before I waste the borrowers time or MINE.  I can avoid problems at the table-situations like the one I just described to you here. (aLthough it is rare and the first time I have heard such of a thing happing it is now a reality that it is possible). This technique does not always work but it is sure worth a try. And it might save you some trouble. I have been doing it for years. Now I know some of you will chew my head off about this technique of mine but this is my business and I run it as I see fit-just as you will run yours as you see fit. But, remember this is for the most part why are economy is shot…to many lies and games being played in the refinance word, and we are usually abandoned and stuck in the middle.

Now, most of you know I preach about your worth and the fees that you charge — this story just reinforces my feeling that you need to be paid what you are worth. I know this is an extreme case but we stick out necks out every time we take an assignment. We NEVER know where our notary public assignments will take us or what we will have to deal with when we get there. We deal with bad attitudes, late documents, traffic, bad neighborhoods, filthy homes, terrible smells, pets, incompetence, etc., and sometimes bad people. So my point is you need to be paid what you are worth. If you continue accepting these low fees that they are offering nowadays not only do you hurt yourself you hurt all of us: the notary community as a whole…..Now in this case a higher fee would not have stopped his unthinkable behavior but I feel that because we deal with so much adversity in this business we need to have our pay more in line with our efforts and the things that we are subjected too. For me, without fair compensation this profession is just not worth the effort or trouble.

Until next time!! BE SAFE!!

Written by Carmen Towles

You might also like:

Part 2 of Notary is pushed of stairs – the sequel!

Power of Attorney at a nursing home

Why notaries don’t last



  1. Thanks for sharing this interesting helpful story. I once had a couple who seemed to want to rip my head off on my birthday evening signing. They were steaming over B of A. I never feared for my safety though. The notary came upon an unusually dangerous person who will regret what he did. She could put a lien on his home for the damages he caused her, she could actually get his home if he doesn’t pay for her damages.

    I think carrying around a key chain pepper spray might be a good investment although in this day and age they may go after the notary for self-defense and you’d have to hire a lawyer to prove you were being attacked. They don’t like people to defend themselves and figure there’s always a way out of a situation non-violently. Unless the guy had a history of violence and criminal problems, the notary could get in trouble for pulling mace or pepper spray on the attacker.

    Comment by Cheryl — September 23, 2011 @ 7:33 pm

  2. I have left a couple of homes because the resident had a nasty temper. I contacted the company and explained. I informed one company I would do a signing in a public place “The Police Department”. I did not return however I asked the company to tell whoever they called to warn the next person of why I left.

    Comment by Maxine — September 25, 2011 @ 1:23 pm

  3. Wow! All of my signing clients have generally been quite nice. Since I walk with a cane, some of my clients even asked to assist me while walking down the stairs from their home to the street, even out to my car.

    I actually had a similar situation happen to me when I worked for the U. S. Census Bureau back in the 1990’s. I had to inverview a household to get the monthly employment statistics. The wife was very polite, almost timid. Her husban was a big bruser of a guy, was very rude and beligerent. He literally shoved me down the stairs. I contacted my supervisor and reported the incident. My supervisor didn’t want to do anything.

    Comment by Ellen Michaels — September 27, 2011 @ 2:55 pm

  4. I have had a negaitive experince with Notaries well ones in Texas. In one the notary notarized a document for VR Business group of Dallas and when asked to verify it she refuesd to. Then in the same matter a Notary a Howard E Teichelman III of Mc Kinney Tx. Sold me a business that was a fraud He signed the papers as the VP of the Corporation (All Star Development Systems INC) then notarized his own signature. Sec of State of Texas is OK with this Practice When asked by Certified mail for the copy of the Notary log Mister Teichelmann claimed to have lost the Log Book in a Move. One more reeason not to trust Any GOVERNMENTAL OFFICAL including Notaries PEOPLE LIE FOR MONEY

    JoeinBost@aol.com Joe Downey

    Comment by Joe Downey — September 28, 2011 @ 2:31 pm

  5. Great story. I hope the notary has a full recovery. Makes me wonder if the irate borrower would have pushed a man down the stairs. Since the notary did not say in her story that she explained the right to cancel clause I will assume that she just “folded her tent” and headed out the door like an inexperienced loan signer would do. It’s too bad the notary lost control of the signing and allowed the situation to escalate to the point of HER getting hurt.

    Comment by Joe Ewing — September 28, 2011 @ 4:29 pm

  6. I am sorry to hear of the incident, but am glad the notary is feeling better and has no thoughts of quitting her job.

    Comment by Kimberly — September 28, 2011 @ 5:57 pm

  7. @Joe Ewing: She is very experienced. She has been a signing agent for years. She did her job. He was not hearing her. The borrower went out of control once he saw the interest rate. Please don’t assume.

    Comment by Carmen R Towles — September 28, 2011 @ 10:08 pm

  8. Carmen, I appreciate your comments, but I was embarrassed at your spelling.

    Comment by Patricia Davis — September 29, 2011 @ 12:14 am

  9. Did you read the entire story? Apparently this is common place for this person according to the neighbors. Once you are told to leave and are being cussed at, its time to go. When someone starts yelling and cussing it’s pretty rare that you can calm them down within their own home. I have had one situation just about cause me to leave but I managed to shame the man into apologizing when I threatened to leave. Had he continued his tirade, I would have been done. This thing of “would a man have been treated that way?” is…..baloney. This individual apparently has a history of acting like this and his actions with the police standing right there speaks volumes about the situation.

    Comment by Melanie M — September 29, 2011 @ 12:28 am

  10. How terrible! There is absolutely NO excuse for that kind of behavior by a borrower or anyone for that matter for whatever reason! Whether the notary explained the right to cancel or not (which is the first thing I tell borrowers on a refi loan) that kind of behavior is simply uncalled for. If I were this notary and he started yelling and cussing, I too would have just packed up my things and walked out. Unfortunately, Some people are just plain crazy and I’m sure this whole economic crisis isn’t helping matters.

    I have been a full time mobile notary/notary signing agent for over 8 years now and have seen a lot of strange things, but nothing like this. I’m really glad you shared this story, because it alerts notaries that things do happen. By the way, I do carry pepper spray to SOME appointments, but I don’t think it would have helped this particular notary since he was a coward and pushed her while her back was turned. I am so grateful nothing like this has ever happened to me and I’m happy to hear the notary is okay. It would not discourage me either… so good for her! I also love what I do!

    I absolutely agree with you Carmen that as notaries we must insist on getting paid what we are worth. I am now at a point where I only accept assignments from a very few select signing companies who appreciate me, pay me a fair fee and pay on time.

    Thanks for sharing 🙂

    Comment by Denise O'Dell — September 29, 2011 @ 12:53 am

  11. Signing Companies are pathetic at times and do not always side with the Notary. No Notary should agree to any discounted fees if the loan does not sign. We must be paid what we are worth! Full fee no matter what!

    Comment by Laura L — September 29, 2011 @ 1:49 am

  12. Comment for Joe Ewing…You have GOT to be kidding, although it’s far from funny.Your comment is so stupid, on so many levels, I am speechless.

    Comment by l. Mindel — September 29, 2011 @ 1:50 am

  13. I am sincerely very sorry that this happened to my sister notary, that animal surely
    has anger management issues…how in sensitive of the signing company to question
    if that ordeal actually happens, shame on you!!.who makes up a story like that to get
    out of an assignment. My thoughts are with you .

    Comment by Daisy O'Brien — September 29, 2011 @ 2:44 am

  14. @ Patricia Davis…HiPatricia…umm what spelling errors are you referring to? I dont see them.

    Comment by Carmen Towles — September 29, 2011 @ 3:32 am

  15. I fixed the spelling mistakes. A few punctuation issues and one, “allot” that needed to be fixed.

    Comment by Jeremy Belmont — September 29, 2011 @ 3:34 am

  16. Carry a small Olympus audio recorder wherever you go (e.g., model WS-510). Do it every time and simply file the MP3 audio files away on your computer or storage drive. In this day and age, firstly, those become a running record of who, what, where, and when. For instance, being accused of being rude– or even a crime such as rape– is easily disproved when you have a running record. Start it with the date and time, and it will become a time yardstick as to when things actually occurred. Secondly, you collect evidence for any eventuality. No longer “he said, she said,” you can actually replay whatever was said for, say, a court of law, a peace officer, your spouse, etc. And finally, you do, in fact, hear some great stories and friendly counsel from persons whose advice, in the coming decades, you may wish to replay or add to your own writings.

    Comment by Lee — September 29, 2011 @ 6:33 am

  17. 1/2 point more sounds like the APR on the truth and lending document. Who here hasn’t had their share of MAJOR signer freak outs after reading that document. To those of you that think my comment was \stupid\ I have actually heard of a few signing agents who carry a gun, for protection of course. She was vulnerable and alone in his house, he was rumored to be crazy. Take comfort in the fact that the signing service would eventually start looking for their precious documents.

    Comment by Joe Ewing — September 29, 2011 @ 3:08 pm

  18. Hi Carmen,
    Thanx for sharing this with us notaries, all though it really makes a person think twice about going out to notarize anything when you have jerks like this out there that want to hurt people and bully everyone around them, I hope this lady does not quit doing what she loves and I also hope and pray that she sues this guy for everything and maybe he will find out what a horrible person really is.

    Comment by Terry L. Howard Sr — September 29, 2011 @ 5:56 pm

  19. Wow! As horrifying as this story is….I am absolutely amazed at the signing service’s response. People are crazy, and we just don’t always know what to expect from a borrower. However, I expect far more professionalism from the signing service. Too bad you can’t publish who they are – I have been so blessed to be hired by good companies thus far. I hope she has a full recovery and no more problems out of the borrower/offender.

    Comment by A. Grant — September 29, 2011 @ 7:01 pm

  20. I am so sorry dear friend thet this monster did this terrible act. Most people would be a shamed if this happen to them. They would think to themselves, what did I do wrong. I am happy you shared your story. Good luck to you.

    Comment by Rebecca Baker — September 29, 2011 @ 8:29 pm

  21. I am happy I have not had that kind of exp;erience. If I did I would aslo sue the borrowner
    I would also like the name of the signing company so I cnn avoid werking for them

    Comment by Edward Cooper — September 29, 2011 @ 9:21 pm

  22. Thanks once again to our helpful loan officers.

    Comment by s. schultz — September 30, 2011 @ 3:11 am

  23. To be quite honest, yes, this is a horrible incident and I hope the borrower gets what he deserves. Luckily, I have been lucky with my signers, but it gets frustrating when the loan officers are not available at the time of signing. Some signings don’t occur during “normal” business hours and we have no way to get in contact with them. As suggested by my signing companies, I tell my signers that they have 3 days to cancel the transaction if when they contact their loan officer and are not happy with the numbers. I had one signer that refused to sign because there was a lot of discrepancies and did not want to sign. I can’t blame him, but at least he was calm and knew it was not my (the Notary) fault. We just rescheduled when the documents where corrected.

    Comment by Rosina — September 30, 2011 @ 4:49 am

  24. I absolutly agree that we ALL Signing Agent should stand together and hold our ground on the fees we charge. I never agree on those low fees (under $100) signing companies trying to offer us nowdays, while they are beening paid twice more and sometimes triple!!! But I also do know that some other notary will agree on that low fee, bringing the whole notary market down, causing the rest of us to compite even harder and having us to even explain sometimes to signing companies ( I do it almost every week, unfortunately), that it does not make sence to take the assignment, if it is paid so low, after all the expenses and time spent.
    Thus, Good luck out there, and please, do not agree to work for just a fraction of what you should be earning!!!

    Comment by Elena Kolova — September 30, 2011 @ 7:21 am

  25. I had a borrower and his wife start arguing horribly because they were divorcing and the husband wanted to re-fiannce and had sprung it on the wife. I was very uncomfortable and told them that I would go and get lunch and when they settled their differences I would come back. The husband blocked my exit from the house out the front door and asked him to move and he told me I was not leaving. I then turned and took 4 steps out the side door through a car port and I was out of there. Luckily he did not try to block my car. The signing company was angry with me for leaving and wanted me to return. I refused!

    Comment by Michelle Holden — September 30, 2011 @ 3:38 pm

  26. I had a bad closing also. I called the customer, showed up in on his farm in the middle of know mans land. I felt very uncomfortable as the man was only dressed in boxers. He did not seem overly informed about the details of the closing and him and his wife where bickering. I said for my protection let sign and you guys have your 3 days to take up any disputes you have on your time. The guy started to through a fit I said I would prefer to just leave and you can request a new notary. The wife then said no we are OK lets just sign. The husband then said I want to read all 128 pages word for word and then I will sign. I said you will have to request a new notary then as its not my paid enough to listen to this and sign contract agreeing not to engage in nay legal advise about your loan. The customer than agreed to sign but signed in a very angry manner keep in mind with almost no clothes on only boxers. throwing the papers at his wife as he signed them. He then gave me a very bad review to the singing agency who I worked with for years and I have not received a signing from this particular signing company since. I tried to do my job by the book but I ended up losing in the end. Its a shame some companies don’t go to bat for you us notaries. Yes I agree if your not being paid a fair fee its not worth it and it hurts all notaries.

    Comment by Wayne Tajchman — September 30, 2011 @ 7:36 pm

  27. Carmen, thanks so much for sharing this story. I’m glad the notary is okay and didn’t sustain more serious injuries. I’m sure that had to be very frightening for her. It’s good that she didn’t allow that one bad experience to break her spirit. I’ve been conducting signings off and on for about 10 years and have experienced many interesting and strange situations, but never anything of a dangerous nature. So this post was very good for me in making me become aware of the possibility of a potentially negative situation. I’m hoping that none of us ever have to face an unfortunate incident of this caliber, but thanks to the notary sharing her story, we will now be more precautious and somewhat mentally prepared if so.

    Shame on the person from the signing company that didn’t believe the notary’s story, but we shouldn’t judge the entire company or abandon them based on an inconsiderate act from one of their representatives.

    I agree with Carmen regarding fair compensation and demanding to be paid what we are worth. I’m constantly struggling to get my rate and I’m sure it’s because the signing companies know that when they hang up with me, there is another notary willing to work for less. So until we ALL start demanding our worth, we will continue fighting this battle.

    Comment by Joyce Mikle-Miller — October 2, 2011 @ 6:43 am

  28. This is very sad!! Could this have been prevented? Yes! Before I show the HUD or any document, I acclaim I have no knowledge of the document content, I cannot give you advice but if the docs are not valid from your point of view, we can call your contact or I will call mine in the event a wrong document is presented. Advise that they have the power to stop, change or cancel this document. Sometimes, mistakes are made and it is our job to relate the problem with the agency!!

    Comment by Connie Kuest — October 5, 2011 @ 5:17 pm

  29. I’m sorry but some of you seem to think this notary didn’t do her job. This would be a false assumption. The borrower did not care about the RTC or anything else for that matter. He took all of his frustration out on her…but the person he should have taken it out on was the lousy loan officer who of course was no where to be found.

    Comment by Carmen R Towles — October 5, 2011 @ 5:24 pm

  30. Thank you for posting that Carmen.

    I really hope this person pays for what he did to this Signing Agent. I can not believe that someone would get that angry about a rate! I hope it was worth it to him for the trouble he is headed for. I feel for this poor Signing Agent – she must of been terrified!

    I totally agree with your comment – we need to be paid for what we are worth! We do what most people would not want to do as a profession and we are not just Notaries! We are Signing Agents and professionals!

    I have come across so many borrower’s never being contacted by their Lender or L/O and fortunately they are pretty good about it. If they don’t like the rate – We either fix it at the table or they don’t sign – end of story!

    I do the same thing with my confirmation call that I make to the borrower’s. If everything is good – I print! If not… It gets fixed before I go (from the L/O – not me!) or we reschedule when the borrower/s are satisfied!

    I have been a L/O, processor and underwriter and there is no reason the borrower’s should go all that time with out as much a s final number call. This is not the Signing Agents job to make sure the borrower’s are prepared. happy and the loan is sold! It is the L/O’s job for sure! I have no problem fixing things at the table – but… I do have a problem with not keeping your borrower/s informed!

    As far as the poor Signing Agent goes, she should go after all that are involved with this sloppy and dangerous encounter. As far as the Signing Agency goes – this is exactly why I stay away from them! Most of them don’t have a clue of what it takes to close a loan and that is why they offer us LOW BALL FEES! I am good at my job – loans come back perfect and ready to fund and I have set fees! If they don’t like my fees – call someone else! That’s my story and I am sticking to it! 🙂

    Comment by Deanna Hopper — October 5, 2011 @ 8:15 pm

  31. As a notary who worked the South Side of Chicago for years and a current notary and process server in Northern Minnesots, NEVER turn your back on people who are upset, or who you are unsure of. I would also suggest you all seek self-defense training of some sort whether it be basic awareness training or handgun training and a permit to carry. The world is a dangerous place full of crazy people. Our #1 job is to make it home safely to our families, period.
    One last note, as I’m sure most of you do, whenever a customer gets upset I stress to them that I an a “local” notary and not an employee of the lender or title company. I have no control over the content of the documents and no reason to push you one way or the other. If that does not calm them down and redirect their anger, take your copy of the docs and leave.

    Comment by Paul Lund — October 10, 2011 @ 4:17 pm

  32. Yeah, some of the comments here are nuts. You cannot blame the notary for a jerk assaulting her over a 1/2% difference in his loan. She could have taken more precautions to ensure her saftey but that knowledge comes with training. There are many places to receive this training and it is always a good idea to be prepared.

    Comment by Paul Lund — October 10, 2011 @ 4:23 pm

  33. This is pretty much bad , well we cannot blame.

    Comment by Blondelle — March 14, 2012 @ 3:04 am

  34. Paul you are correct. I am trying to afford the training for concealed carry. But our safety is more than that. It is an awareness of your surroundings. You have to think ahead. I pull the RTC out to sign first because people make their first signature errors on the first copy, and you can correct them. Then, I have them sign the HUD, so that they can see that Line#303 agrees with their expectations.
    If someone became hostile with me, I would just pack up and leave, no words, then call 911 to tell them that I was threatened.
    If a signing company cannot handle the results of bad loan prep management, than I’ll reconsider working for them. Many people there have never done what we do.
    I did a recent Reverse Mortgage application, where the borrower was friendly, but the neighborhood was treacaherous. Should I be called for the final signing, I will refuse to got there again. The same day I had done a Quickens no print in the same town, at their public library. This borrower could meet me there, or find somebody else.
    We don’t get battle pay for this.

    Comment by betty — June 25, 2015 @ 8:13 pm

  35. I’m curious when will there be a pure Electronic Notary. When will the day come when we don’t need people to notarize? With the invention of the Blockchain and bitcoin there is significant promise.

    Comment by Taylor — November 11, 2015 @ 7:28 pm

  36. I’m glad to hear the notary is ok…however, I really want to address another subject.

    Why do people CONTINUE to call this a JOB? This is not a JOB! It is a BUSINESS!

    I agree with Carmen that people need to consider their fees. But people in this industry have the mindset of an EMPLOYEE, not as a BUSINESS OWNER. Notaries with an employee mindset do not take into account the expenses, taxes, overhead, PROFIT and TIME (which includes correspondence, travel (time to and from) time of signing, etc.). Not just the mindset of…”I’m making $50, 60, 75…etc…for an hour! Hello my fellow notaries! Wake up to reality! Do as Carmen says and reevaluate your fees. Reevaluate your fees from a BUSINESS OWNER point of view and NOT as an EMPLOYEE! Factor in a PROFIT margin! After all, if you’re going to make less than minimum wage, break even, or worse, do it for FREE, then get out of the BUSINESS and get a JOB at Macdonald’s. You’ll make more money!!!!

    Comment by Cheryl E Mihalik — December 28, 2018 @ 6:46 pm

  37. I would have called the cops and sued him for the injury and ASSAULT was a dick.

    Comment by Tara B — January 13, 2020 @ 8:46 pm

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