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A Mobile Notary’s Story: Is That A Snake In Your Briefcase?

Mobile Notary Michelle Brawley found a snake in her briefcase when performing a mortgage signing.

One of the benefits of living in rural Colorado is the abundance of wildlife. I never thought that some of that very wildlife would show up at a mortgage signing. I arrived at a borrower’s home recently for what I thought would be a routine notarization. As I began unloading the paperwork from my briefcase, I glimpsed a strange bright orange flash at the bottom.

I saw a foot-long banded snake wiggling at the bottom.

What Kind Of Snake?

My borrower quickly searched on her computer to find exactly what type of serpent I toted to her home, and we determined that the snake was not poisonous. (I still don't know for sure what it was exactly – except scary.) I proceeded to take my briefcase outside and tried to shake the slithering snake out of my briefcase. Tapped my briefcase, hit it, even held it upside down with my apologies. No luck. I finally had to reach in and carefully pull the snake out of my case.

After things settled down, the closing went as planned, but I couldn’t help wondering how that snake got into my possessions. I’ll never know for sure but decided to blame my four cats because they routinely drag critters around the house. That’s my best guess, anyway.  

Was I carrying that snake around for more than an afternoon? More than a week? These days, I check my briefcase far too frequently. I can attest that finding reptiles in your briefcase is still all in a good day’s work.

Michelle Brawley is a mobile Notary in Durango, Colorado. She can be reached at

Do you have a good Notary story to share in the Bulletin? Post your odd or interesting stories in the Comments section below.


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Bruce Hess

23 Feb 2015

interested in this story

Bruce R. Hess

23 Feb 2015

nice story


23 Feb 2015

Oh heavens I think I would have fainted! You poor lady! How did you make it out of that!?!

Christine Tulipana

23 Feb 2015


Jerry Lucas

23 Feb 2015

"Red next to black is a friend of Jack; red next to yellow will kill a fellow." Coral snakes (red next to yellow) are poisonous Milk snakes and King snakes (red next to black) are not poisonous. Here is a map showing the range of Coral snakes:

Gail W.

23 Feb 2015

And I'm sure that you performed your notarial duties with grace, poise and professionalism after all was said and done, granted, a bit shaken. But we're trained that way, by our cats...oh yeah, and by NNA, too. Thanks for sharing.

Zoanne Wilcox

23 Feb 2015

LOL! What would life memories be without these exciting things being tossed our way once in awhile? DULL! I am glad no one was weak of heart and you came out graceful and smiling!


23 Feb 2015

sorry good story made up

Rhonda Armstrong

24 Feb 2015

I am glad you and your clients are ok , But snake I don't care what kind would have had breif case papers and all

Michelle Brawley

24 Feb 2015

Guys, this is a true story. In retrospect I should have taken a picture of it in my briefcase, but that was not my priority at the time! I just did what I had to do. I often tell the story to borrowers and love to see the expression on their faces! I think it was a juvenile King Snake (Jerry thanks for that link). It's a real conversation starter.

Laurie Kampa

24 Feb 2015

I have spent more than 20 years as a Notary. I never brought anything in, in my suit case. I'm afraid if that happen to me. I would have just had a heart attack and that would have ended my career. You deserve an Award for Bravery beyond the call of duty.


25 Feb 2015

Brave Lady! I would've left the briefcase outside, hoping the snake would go away by the time the signing was complete!!!

John Encinio

01 Mar 2015

I once went to do a signing at the home of a senior aged couple (mid-sixties). They had a large, friendly black dog who made it his mission to come and lay down under the table on top of my boots. He would roll around and scratch his back on my boots, then roll over for his master, who was sitting directly across the table from me, to do the same. The dog got under the table several times, walked away and came back again. After the dog left again I felt something rubbing against my right ankle. It was the dog's master thinking he was rubbing his dog. I looked under the table and then back up to the male borrower across the table from me and said, "Uhhh, Henry, your dog left about five minutes ago." He immediately jerked his leg back as he - beet red - apologized profusely. I made a joke about the whole thing and laughed out loud. His wife got in on the joke as well asking, "Henry, is there something you need to tell me...?" She and I laughed on, he apologized a time or two more. But, he did NOT find the situation anywhere nearly as funny as his wife and I did....

K.E. Lemley

03 Mar 2015

I almost went back to the office with the borrower's cat in my big straw bag. The cat crawled in while we were working on the doc's. I threw it up over my shoulder and thought this bag is getting very heavy I need to downsize the contents when it moved....I looked in and saw the sleepy cat looking back at me. I have dogs that love to chase cats it would not have been to happy at my place.

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