These things you can’t see just by looking at a person.
In the bus from Sabo, Yaba to Obalende, the man sitting by me kept fondling his pockets for the extra money the conductor was requesting for.
He had thought it was 100 naira and was surprised it was 200 naira.
I told him not to bother and paid it.
He was efusive with thanks and no sooner called a woman who was standing by the road with a tray of bread and butter.
100 naira bread.
She asked if he wanted some butter.
He answered in the negative.
I looked at him.
He was staring at the woman with such concentration as she packed up the bread.
He noticed my gaze and turned to me.
There was an apologetic smile on his face.
“Sorry bros, but I never eat since morning.”
It was 7.45 p.m.
I smiled, turned to the woman and asked her to butter up the bread.
I called out to another hawker who was passing with a pack of cold drinks.
I turned to him and asked what he wanted.
He was looking at me dumbstruck.
The conductor pounded on the roof of the bus. A signal to the driver that it was time to move.
The driver engaged the gear and was about to move, it was as though the slight jerk of the boss awakened the man.
The driver stopped.
“Mo fe ra onje.”
He turned to me.
I bought two bottles of coke and paid for the bread.
The bus hurtled away towards Obalende.
And he told me a tale of woe.
Masters degree holder but working as a security guard in Ikeja.
Resuming today as a security guard in VI for the night shift.
A wife and a kid.
We got to Obalende.
Gave him some more money.
Stopped him from kneeling down in the bus park in gratitude.
Exchanged numbers and bade him farewell.
From there I headed to the japanese restaurant Shiro in VI for dinner with my very wealthy friend.
And I told him of my decision to travel Lagos by bus for a week and more to meet the ‘real’ Lagosians.
He was intrigued.
Then I told him of the man I had just met on my way from Yaba.
And he was moved.
So moved that he had me call him and he spoke with him.
After which he collected his bank details and right in my presence, he transferred 250k to the man.
My eyes are misty.
In this city there are demons and there are angels.
I am happy that my friend proved to be the latter.
And a life was touched.
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