As my friend dropped me off to catch a cab somewhere in Ikeja, I stood for about ten minutes before I actually got one. The first man didn’t agree for my offer so I angrily discharged him. A couple of minutes later I was able to flag down a cab but this time I decided to be a bit calm and bargain the fare. He charged me three thousand naira for the journey and since I didn’t know the actual price I used agbari concept to see if it can be reduced to two thousand but he wouldn’t settle for less than two thousand five hundred so I reluctantly entered the vehicle.
As he drove, I took a good look at this man from behind, he doesn’t seem happy, his hair had grown and was unkempt, his clothes were so worn out that it could tear if you pulled lightly. But he was trying to encourage himself as he played some great Nigerian tunes and nodded his head to them. I also enjoyed the songs so as I pinged I was gently nodding, he stole a glance at me from his rear mirror and as he saw the movement of my head he slightly increased the volume, I smiled.
He kept on mumbling to himself and I wish I could figure out what it was so I started to think for him. Maybe he has kids at home expecting something from daddy, maybe he has an expectant mother and the thought of it is making him look haggard or even the resumption of school. Honestly I thought about so many other things and I can only imagine that these thoughts must have relegated any thoughts of him taking care of himself.
He wasn’t talking but he had a friendly disposition and that made me admire him more and he also impressed me with his Schwarzenegger skills in driving that made the trip all so fast.
As he stopped for me to alight I paid him. Then I brought out an extra five hundred and told him gently to please go and have a hair cut and a shave tomorrow Sunday for him to look fresh for Monday morning. He looked at me with so much excitement, I could feel it, he couldn’t say anything else but “God bless you. Madam”, at that time I felt inner peace. He was willing to give me his phone number in case I come to Ikeja again but I declined. I wish I could give him more than that even though I ended up paying the exact fare he initially said but I wasn’t sad, not at all.
I put a smile on his face and I am glad. Most times it is not the big things we do that matter it is the small things we do from our heart. A little aid can lift hope up.
Tonight I will sleep with the memories of the man’s excitement and prayers.