Well I have. And it shocks me every damn time.
I met an old man on the plane one day. I had a window seat. A friend of mine was sitting at the middle, sleeping. At a point, this friend of mine requested that I vacate my window seat for her so that she could enjoy the view. Besides, it was a night journey. We would be getting to Lagos by 8pm. It was the airline’s last flight out of Abuja that night. The sky was scary, red at some point, pitch black somewhere else. Whirring sound most times, turbulence sometimes.
This calm old man was sitting at the aisle on our row. He was the third person. We didn’t talk at all. We only exchanged smiles and polite nods. When the hostess started giving us water, he helped us hand it over, with the customary cakes and biscuit in a pack.
He dozed at some points. I was awake. I watched people as they slept peacefully. A pregnant lady was behind me and a young guy was sharing the word with her.
Grandpa wore a white agbada and I think he must have been studying me under his closed eyelids.
When we got to lagos, I didn’t even know how to get to my destination. Flight had been delayed and my son couldn’t pick me as planned. He asked me to pick an Uber and start coming to sango ota that night. He would then drive down and pick me along the way.
Airport cabs were telling me 6k. Grandpa came along, asked where I was headed. He was waiting for his driver too but they were headed to surulere. Grandpa said he could have gone to drop me if I was heading along his way but that sango and surulere were different routes. He stood with me and expressed worry and concern for me especially because it was night.
When his driver called that he was around, grandpa took me to one of the airport cabbies and told him to ensure I get home. He told cabbie to reduce price for me.
Cabbie, a yoruba man too took up my matter and was about to take me when my daughter called that she was driving down to pick me. I have four biological children now in case you didn’t know, including a grandchild😁😀.
Cabbie turned to me and said “just continue to be good, you hear? When we see good people, we know them”.
Me that I’m a bad person. 😀
I still think about grandpa with the white beard occasionally. I remember him and I’m grateful to him. Even the cabman too. They never asked for my digits. They were just being kind. I may never see them again but I can’t forget them.
The second stranger I can never forget is this Abuja driver I met at Iwo road. I was visiting Abuja for the first time and I joined his car from Iwo road. I sat down directly behind him. We took off.
Dude kept checking me out through the rear view mirror. Every body was talking but I kept quite, lost in my thoughts. I didn’t say a word to anyone, didn’t laugh at jokes, didn’t buy dodo at ikire, didn’t buy akara at ile ife, didn’t hustle for bread or anything on the road.
When we got to ibillo, dude parked the car for everyone to come down and eat. Everyone went down except me.
Dude couldn’t take it any longer. He came to meet me
“Aunty pls come down and eat pounded yam. I beg you in the name of God. I will pay for it”
I couldn’t laugh.
“No thanks, I’m not hungry sir”
Bhet you haven’t eaten anything since morning. I’ve been watching you. Pls, don’t starve yourself, if it is because of money, don’t worry I will pay for it. Pls, come and eat. Even if it is small. Or should I buy you a drink? You are the only one sitting in this car while everyone has gone to eat. Aren’t you hungry since morning?”
I could not laugh.
This guy beged me continually to come down and eat pounded yam o. He eventually talked me into getting down to stretch my legs instead.
Thank God other passengers didn’t hear us. If not, they would have thought I was his girlfriend or something with the way he was begging me.
I still didn’t budge but I came down from the car and stood.
We continued the journey. When I got to airport road in Abuja where I lived before, he took my number and told me to always call him whenever I wished to travel. He said there was no need for me to go to jabi. He said I should just call him and he would leave a seat for me and pick me from airport road. I thought that was a good idea and I gave him my number.
He called occasionally to check on me when he didnt hear from me.
He would say something like
“Ahn ahn, won’t you travel? I just got to Abuja o and I’m leaving for ibadan tomorrow morning. I just said I should tell you”
I would smile and say no, I wouldn’t be travelling soon.
We kept in touch.
When I eventually went back home, I asked him to help me collect kilishi from a friend in Abuja.
This guy got the kilishi and brought it to ibadan. I met him at Iwo road to collect it.
I lost touch with him and didn’t see him again till two years ago. I was in the car thinking about him when he suddenly showed up. He still recognised me. I first met him in 2012 and this was 2017.
We greeted like long lost friends. His car was still on the queue. I couldn’t come down to join his car. I didnt collect his digits again and I haven’t gone to Iwo road in ages. We’ve lost touch but I can’t forget him.
The third person is this okada rider who picked me on my way from work one afternoon and now, I keep seeing him everywhere on my street. Sometimes, if I’m on a bike, he will chase me just to say hi. Whenever he’s lucky to see me walking, he quickly stops to carry me anywhere I want to go.
The fourth person is OBF2.
I told him I was following him because of the pounded yam he was buying for me. Dude laughed. He must have thought I was joking. This guy would run many errands for me, even pick me from Asokoro to Garki.
When I moved to Garki, he had moved before me. Sometimes, this year, dude had come to ask me if it was okay for him to have a woman…like a girlfriend 😀😁. I no fit laugh.
Oga, why would you seek my permission for that
The way he even came sheepishly, soberly, with a serious face, speaking in low tones in open court was scary.
“I just came to ask you if it’s okay for me to get close to another girl that I can get married to”.
I felt so much pity for him when he said this and my respect for him grew. I told him he had my blessings.
So he started with a girl.
Two months later, he told me he was no longer with the girl.
But why are you telling me oga?
He did this back and forth with the girl till he finally received sense and got married to her in October. I saw him last week and he said he was moving to another house and that I must come to visit him and his wife. I met the girl of course. He brought her to the office. I hugged her.
OBF2 would still move and arm and a leg for me and still invite me to his matrimonial home when he has only been a pounded yam buddy to me. #sighs# the things that happeninsidelife#