I noticed when you joined the queue, you both wore suits and I wondered if you were married. I wondered where you worked. Idle thoughts, I was more concerned with getting a seat on the 7pm Aero flight to Lagos. It was the last flight out of Port Harcourt with free seats.
My heart sank when, after almost 20 minutes on the queue, the Aero teller announced that the POS machine wasn’t working. I’d have to pay cash.
I didn’t have any cash . I heard you mutter that you didn’t have any cash either. This was 5:20.
I made my way to the ATM, to the queues that dragged. I was number 7 on one queue; fifteen minutes later, you joined the other queue.
My GTB card did not work. 20 minutes on the ATM queue, and my card did not work. I stepped off the queue. You asked me what the problem was. I replied that I needed to transfer money to my First Bank card so I could use it.
You got to the front of the queue. I watched you withdraw cash effortlessly. I joined the other queue, waited another 20 minutes to get to the machine. And again, I got the error message, “Issuer or switch inoperative.”
I was desperate. I had no plans to sleep in Port Harcourt that night, I was tired, completely out of cash and time was running out. Again, I joined the end of the queue. And for the third time, I got an error message on both of my cards. I tried to get my husband to book the ticket online but that option was no longer available on their website. I was, for all intents and purposes, stranded.
I saw you both walk past to the Genesis restaurant. In the time it had taken me to make my way to the front of the ATM queue, you had booked your tickets. It was almost 6:30 and I hadn’t booked mine. My choices were limited. I did something I’ve never done before.
I walked up to you in Genesis and I asked you, complete strangers to lend me N20,000.
I didn’t look particularly credit-worthy. My hair was in a messy bun, dragging my luggage back and forth had left me sweaty, my shoes were dusty, and my trousers were covered in lint.
But you replied, “Ah, I was even going to ask you if you needed money.”
And you gave me the money. You didn’t ask for my phone number so you could follow up, you didn’t demand any sort of guarantees. At my request, you wrote your account number on a piece of paper and bid me farewell.
At the Aero desk, the price had gone up. Again, I turned to the person behind me to lend me the extra 3k I needed. And he did. Again, without any guarantees that I would pay back.
Because of you, I made it to Lagos at past 8 in the night. I tried both my debit cards at MMA2 and they worked. Sigh. A miracle. And all the wahala was worth the smile on my husband’s face as he welcomed me home.
People like you are the reason I still have faith in humanity, in Nigerians. I’ve paid you back, I did the bank transfers first thing Friday morning. But I knew I had to write this. To thank you and that other kind gentleman. And to let others know that people like you exist. Again, thank you.
Hi, guys. Please share this post as many times as you can, to as many people as you can so it reaches these wonderful Nigerians. I really hope they get to read this. Thank you!