I am currently running a post-graduate programme with the University of Nigeria. My lectures are usually on weekends and I work in a different city from where the campus is, so I have to travel most weekends (if not every weekend) to enable me to attend lectures.
Yesterday was one of those days I had to travel down to Nsukka for my lectures. From the town, I usually prefer to get to campus by taxi as there are no much delays compared to going by bus. Luckily for me, a taxi was loading when I got to the park, so I entered.
The driver kept on restating that the fee was #60 and if anyone doesn’t have the exact fare, the person shouldn’t even bother entering the vehicle. He said the same thing to me when I entered.
I felt a bit offended at the manner in which he said that. He sounded more like he was doing me a favour by agreeing to transport me to the campus. I reasoned that there are better ways this driver would have communicated that I must have ‘change’ instead of the way he did.
The next second, he was talking to the man in the front seat who was apparently older than him.
“Oga, I hope you have your #60, I don’t have ‘change’ to give to anyone oo.”
The man searched his pocket and showed him the #50 he had on him signalling that he doesn’t have #10 to add to it to make it up.
“I don’t want to hear that oo, if you don’t have your #60, please come down so that I’ll put someone that has his money complete,” he snapped.
I watched the man alight from the vehicle and another younger guy replaced him in the front seat immediately.
Some other people wanted to enter the vehicle but the driver kept on insisting that if they don’t have the exact #60, they shouldn’t bother entering.
I opened my purse and saw I had some ‘change’ with me and I could spare some.
I turned to look for the man that had left the bus earlier and saw where he was standing and waiting for the bigger bus to start loading. I knew I was running late, and I reasoned that it’s possible this man too was late to whatever he was going to do on campus so I asked someone beside him to help call him.
He came and I gave the lady beside him the #10 to give to him to complete his fare.
And he said, “Why will it be you people that are students that’d be the one to pay for my fare.”
And I replied, “It’s just in case you are in a hurry to get to campus.”
The man was touched and the next thing, he told the driver to give us back our money, removed #200 from his pocket and paid for the three of us.
I smiled in my mind. The whole experience taught me a lesson. Sometimes, all it takes is a little act of kindness and everything will be fine.