One of my very close friends is the definition of a cheerful giver. He gives so much that I get worried for him. I am not saying it is wrong to give, I just think that there should be a balance. I also think that a fair level of selfishness is required if you are going to survive in this world filled with takers and parasites. He would always tell me how God makes a way for him where there seems to be no way and how he has a covenant with God to always give. I make it a point of duty to remind him that he cannot play God and he sincerely admits that in a bid to slow down in trying to fix people around, he sometimes has to remind himself that he is not God.
Why am I sharing this story? I just watched a very emotional but inspiring video on Tunde Ednut’s Instagram page and it reminded me of who I want to be. It also reminded me of the things I had done in the past and how I am not very different from my friend whom I had described earlier. The only difference is that I have consciously shielded myself in a bubble to avoid being totally spent until I actually can afford it. I don’t know how to say ‘NO’ especially when I know the person asking is in dire need. Sometimes I give only to go depend on my friends who can also give me…LOL. It’s a virtuous cycle.
Let me share a story which will help me make my point:
So I had an appointment in Yaba sometime in December and I was to get there by using an uber. I got a ride on the app and we started the trip. It was one of those long Lagos traffic days, we got stuck on Lekki Admiralty way approaching the Ikoyi Link bridge. Personally, I take rating, reporting or giving tips to uber drivers very seriously because that’s the only way I can play my part in ensuring that there are safe riders on the job. It is however even more interesting because Uber pays attention to these things and the driver’s rate plays a huge role in how much they can make a day. I cannot say same for other ride hailing apps I have used but let’s not digress. This just means that I never quarrel or argue but I pay attention.
While in traffic, the driver started making calls and was unapologetic about it. I was even more irritated when he got on third mainland bridge and continued the conversation. So he was on the phone while driving on 3mb! I was not comfortable but again, he was not happy. From what I hear, he was speaking with his wife who was living with her parents due to their inability to sort their house rent. Prior to him calling his wife, he was on the phone with some guy trying to negotiate a business deal. While on the phone with his wife, he exhausted his calling credit. He held on to his phone, anticipating she would call back but he heard nothing. So he fiddled with his phone for a bit and called her again but this time, she didn’t pick. He had to call someone else to inform her to pick her call. He eventually got through to her and complained about how she wasn’t acting like they were in the situation together. He said he had to borrow 200 naira from his service provider to call her back. He went on to remind her that he needed her support at the trying time more than ever and that the least she could do was to call him back or even stay close to her phone.
I mean, I am not a member of his family neither do I know the dynamics of their relationship, but I could see a man who was trying so hard to fix up his home and to make his wife happy. After talking for a bit, he told her his calling credit will be exhausted again, that he planned to work late in order to make more money. The line went off and his dear wife did not call back. His countenance changed and at that point, I wished I had so much to help him sort whatever the issue was. By the end of his heartbreaking conversation, I was more unhappy for his situation, even more so of my inability to help than for his unprofessionalism.
I was very restless and I kept wishing I could ease his stress somehow. Then I thought, he is making efforts and in this age of business, data and being able to afford making long calls might help you get a business deal. And then I said to myself, ‘why not recharge his phone?”. I was not going to talk to him about it but I know I have his number from an earlier phone call when he was at my estate gate. 737 came in handy as I recharged his line with 5000. Though the spending unplanned and uncomfortable, I was extremely happy I was able to help ease his stress somehow.
It was also fun to watch the confusion on his face when he got the SMS alert. He looked through, over and over again, thanks to (now) yaba traffic. I enjoyed watching him try to figure out who must have recharged his phone. Don’t mind my playful self. I however, informed him when I got to my destination and he was very happy and thankful. He apparently had a lot of calls to make and he said that would help him stay in touch with those he needed to stay in touch with, without having to borrow airtime.
So here is what I want to say:
A little act of kindness sows seed of love in the world which will in turn grow into a tree that can feed, nurture and cover you or your loved ones in time of need. Remember I said it is a virtuous cycle. We all need one another. There are people who genuinely need your help and no matter how small you think you have, there is something to spare.