Anyone who knows me will know that I do not own a car. I am yet to get that SUV that I covet so much. And if you know me well enough, you will also know that I do not like it when it rains in Lagos, especially in the Ikeja area, where I work.

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The reason for this is not far-fetched.

On this fateful day, 19th September to be precise, I, ‘LolaFJ the learner, was supposed to leave the office early to beat the grueling traffic that normally piles up from 4pm. I decided to go home at 3pm, hours before my normal schedule because I was ill.

However, at that exact time, it started raining heavily and yours truly was stuck till the rain let up a bit and I was able to commence my homeward journey. By this time, it was already 4pm.

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The combination of the rain and the hour of the day made sure I met a helluva traffic on the way. In the streets of Lagos, rains are usually followed by heavy traffic jams. After a while, I got a bus going to ‘Ikeja under bridge’ on Awolowo Road.

This is where I usually get a bus to my destination. But on this rainy day, there was none in sight. One doesn’t get to commute easily when it rains in Lagos.

You either trek or you rent a cab (if you are able to get any and if you have that kind of ‘change’ on you).

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So having secured no success in the area of buses, I moved on to the second park which was for tricycles, still no success, no hope of getting home in sight.

Undaunted, I proceeded to the third park which was also for buses, and again the same story. At this point, I decided to join the milling crowd waiting for a bus. I was not only ill, I was now dog-tired.

Some ‘courageous’ people decided to brave it to the fourth bus stop, ‘Ikeja along’. I wished them luck. As for me, I was going to stay right there. It was apparent that a sea of humans would be awaiting these ‘optimists’ in what would almost be a life-threatening rush for the limited number of buses.

I decided to wait in the third park for as long it would take for an empty bus to come along.

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At the beginning of my long journey home, I had actually thought of taking a cab and had reached for my phone to call on my ‘cabbie customer’ when I remembered that ‘life’ had dealt him his own portion of woes.

My ‘cabbie’, a university graduate, who ekes out a living by using his car as a kabukabu  had a ‘knocked’ engine.

I fervently hoped he gets out of that predicament soon. Anyway, Uber popped up in my mind. Although I had downloaded the app on my phone for some time, I had never used it.

I was yet to hear a review from anyone Uber had helped and I did not want to enter ‘one chance’. But still, experience, they say, is the best teacher, so I toyed with the idea of Uber.

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Maybe the time for Uber had come. Or maybe I should just simply get another cabbie. Suffering and smiling dey this Lagos o. Just thinking, I beg who has Uber helped o?

Back to my suffer head story, as we gathered there waiting for a bus and with none forthcoming, I felt like dropping like a sack of potatoes or crashing like a stack of cards. Out of desperation, I decided to hail any cab or tricycle that passed by, empty or not.

Some of my co-bystanders also joined in. I reckoned we could jointly take a cab and share the bill. Alas, still neither a tricycle nor a taxi was in sight.

It crossed my mind to call my brother-in-law, one of my angels, to come and pick me up but then I remembered his tight schedule and realised I would put him under unnecessary pressure. So, I let him be and continued to hail cabs and tricycles while hoping for a bus with spaces to pass by.

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The main bystanders involved:
1. Uche ọmọ Ibo
2. Ugo the wise
3. Titilayo, the gentle
4. Aunty Adunni, who should have known better

I got talking with Ugo, discussing how we could get a vehicle to take us home. I became aware of Titilayo and Aunty Adunni when we hailed this particular empty cab and it actually stopped.

Aunty Adunni got to the passenger side of the driver first to bargain with him, while I got there ahead of Uche, Ugo, and Titilayo – in that order.

As I got there, Aunty Adunni was already negotiating with the driver. Being in no condition to haggle, but desperate anyway, I didn’t even know when I blurted out ‘Is he going towards Egbeda?’

And lo and behold, our ‘mighty’ Aunty Adunni haughtily replied ‘Are you taking drop?’ How she managed to pack so much condescension in that one sentence while under such terrible circumstances, I would never know.

And as a naïve person who couldn’t fathom why she would ask that kind of question when everyone was fagged out and needed to get away from that place, I was stupefied.

I mean, was that the appropriate time to ‘form’ big babe? Was it not reasonable that those going the same way should board the taxi so that at least, the suffering population of humanity at the bus stop can reduce?

And of course, at an affordable rate too, since the bill would have to be shared. Or so I thought. The slow learner that I am, snapping back to reality, I went further to ask her what she meant by asking if I could take ‘drop’.

From her reaction, one could conclude that a doctor had probably prescribed ‘go alone in any taxi’ to her or maybe she was just extremely security conscious. But what does a learner know?

Uche, who had already caught on, burst into laughter. Ugo too understood Aunty Adunni’s ‘plight’, and she tapped me to let her be. She and her taxi, of course.

Honestly, I couldn’t understand Aunty Adunni, and I actually wanted her to explain what she meant by ‘Are you taking drop?’ when I, ‘LolaFJ, was on the verge of collapsing; when people were tired and hungry and had no hope of getting home.

I couldn’t understand why all four of us going the same way couldn’t go together when we were in such a peculiar mess.

I was still expressing my astonishment when she entered the taxi and sat in what they call ‘owner’s corner’ and the cab sped off to Egbeda.

I resigned to my fate of hailing cabs and tricycles. Uche started making jokes about what just transpired, asking if we were taking taxi drop, and so on. This doused the already tensed air. All through the occurrence, Titilayo remained silent. She must have been pretty tired or was just a naturally quiet one.

So, it was a rude shock to me when we eventually got an empty tricycle which four of us boarded, only to be stopped by an Agbero who materialised from nowhere and demanded to be given money.

I almost fainted from shock. After standing for so long, only for one rascal to come and perpetuate our suffering.

Eventually, I had to pay the Agbero N100 as the driver insisted he would not pay. He maintained that we should rather alight from his Marwa instead. This was aside from the actual transport fee.

On our way, we got talking about the incident involving Aunty Adunni, Ugo the wise and I.

Ugo said Aunty Adunni did not realise that her behaviour did not really portray her as a wealthy person; neither did it make her seem better than others out there.

When we got to the bus stop, everyone paid their fee and all went their separate ways. Mind you, not before getting Ugo the wise’s contact details. As I am just a simple learner, I don’t mind to continue hearing words of wisdom from him.

Although Maami had always taught us that ‘kindness counts’, people like Ugo the wise also reinforce this idea. Same goes for some of my friends and family members who I call ‘angels among men’.

Other lessons learned from the occurrence are;

1. Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle – Unknown
2. Being insensitive to other people’s plight does not make you a better person – Aunty ‘Lola
3. Aso nla ko l’eyan nla, like Maami taught me (loosely translated as “all that glitters is not gold”)
4. A good criterion for measuring success in life is the number of people you have made happy – Robert J. Lumsden
5. We are our problem. The moment we begin to change our mindsets and show little kindness to our fellow humans, everything will be fine. Nigeria and the whole world will be a better place – Aunty ‘Lola

How do you see Aunty Adunni’s attitude? I want to learn from you.

Kindly share your thoughts in the comment section. You can also send your experiential stories to [email protected] and those that are within the scope of this column shall get published.

You will get the credit as the writer or your name won’t be published if you prefer to be anonymous.

Thank you for staying with me until the end of the story. (NB. Adunni, Titi and Uche are fictitious names).

‘Lola Funmilayo Jimoh (aka Aunty ‘Lola) is the manager, admin & accounts at TheCable. She is a youth and self-development coach at ESFNetwork, a social enterprise that aims to engage, enlighten and empower youths, create mental health awareness and aid ideas to flourish.

She is the author of Edifying SoulFood and founder of BMHH, a mental health foundation.

You may write to her through [email protected] and can also connect with her on Facebook and Twitter @auntylola or Instagram @auntylolaFJ.



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