Random strangers

Random strangers

I know I will likely get some interesting comments on this post (or maybe not – people may just read it and think I must be nuts but not actually comment on the post 🙂
For some reason, on my trips back to Lagos from Ibadan (and at least once from Lagos to Ibadan), I have given completely random strangers lifts all the way to Lagos.
Several months ago, I had pulled into a petrol station just on the outskirts of Lagos to have the air in my tyres gauged when a fellow approached me for a lift to Ibadan. I was not so sure, but when he added that he had one of this “staff”who would be going along as well, I just completely refused. But he didn’t give up immediately, so by the time all the tyres were checked, I relented and asked him to get in. I found out he was a tanker driver for the petrol station and was on his way home (Ibadan) for the weekend. I dropped them off somewhere before we got to Iwo road (I would have taken the “Challenge” road, but I thought if I had done them a good turn already and it was getting a little late, I decided I might as well see things through – I practically dropped them at the bus stop next to their houses – but I ended up in some traffic due to the detour. Just short of their stop, the gentleman asked for for the cost and I said no, not to bother. He said some prayers as they got down and thanked me profusely. He said I should continue doing good deeds, etc.

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A couple of trips back, I had pulled into one of the last petrol stations just before leaving Ibadan (just shy of the old tollgates) to top up my gas tank when a guy and then a couple of people tentatively approached me to see if I could get them to Lagos (usually they expect to pay – but lower than what a typical commercial vehicle would charge I think). I at first flatly refused, glanced back at the jumble on the back seat and thought of the trouble I would have to go to get all that stuff out of the way. Another person, a little scruffy looking approached as well – when the first two offered to show me their ID cards, he said he was just an humble (Islamic) alfa which no form of identification. I turned him down as well. But by the time my tank was full, I was having second thoughts. So I indicated to the first couple (colleagues selling one of these health products that also involve getting other people to retail the stuff) to follow while I drove a little away from the pump. I got down and had to shove everything into the back of the vehicle. I also had to erect the 3rd row seat. The alfa had returned back to the side of the road to keep trying his luck with other passing cars. While arranging my stuff about 3 others also came up to ask if it was possible they get a lift to Lagos. Since it looked like I was committed at that point, I agreed as well. Then I thought of the alfa and what kind of Christian would I be if I didn’t take him while I took a few other people that showed up after him. So I beckoned to him as well. By the time we got back on the road, I believe I had 6 complete strangers packed into the vehicle with me.

We made it safely to Lagos, and when we were almost in Lagos, I think it was the Alfa that asked about the cost and I indicated they didn’t have to pay, the alfa led all the others in a comprehensive prayer for me with all the others saying Amen at suitable points. He was full of praise as to how I helped complete strangers and did not ask for any money. After the prayers, he hinted at the fact that he was still going to Obasanjo Farms and had spent all the money he had getting from his village to Ibadan. I think that was pushing a little too far, so I purposefully didn’t get involved in that – especially as he didn’t ask me directly for money – he just put it out there.

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Just this past weekend, I was returning from Ibadan to Lagos, when I pulled into the same Petrol station. I noticed a reasonably dressed gentleman with a bag pack trying to get a lift at the side of the road. When I was done filling my tank, I noticed he was still there so I pulled up as I drove past him and indicated he get in, a second fellow that was more or less behind him came up as well and asked if he could get a lift as well. I joked that his face looked hard, but told him to get in as well. The fellow at the back soon fell asleep, but the other fellow in front was awake all through. We discussed some of the antics of the other drivers on the road and some topics on the radio as we went along. The fellow in the back asked to be let out at 7UP and when I pulled over he asked what was the cost, and I said no – you could see the surprise on his face but he thanked me as I pulled back out into the traffic. The other fellow got out around Oworonsoki.

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I guess I could ask for money, but I won’t for several reasons: (not looking down on them, but) If they were comfortable enough, they would be driving as well and not trying to hitch a ride; whether or not I offer them a lift, I was going to Lagos (or Ibadan) anyway; and finally, it was an opportunity to help people without expecting anything back. Hopefully, some of the goodwill will be extended to others along the chain of life.

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I won’t necessarily make a habit of it, but I can’t promise not to do it again. In fact, I am likely to – the way I see it, if I do pick up someone that” “wants” the car, I would just let them have it with no fuss – there are more important things in life than holding on to a car that’s at least 7 years old! The only thing I probably won’t do is stop along the road under any condition (if a passenger is pressed, he/she better hold it in until the next town or village). Unless a gun or cutlass is involved, in which case I revert to letting go of the car with no fuss!

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5 Responses to Random strangers

  1. Titi says:

    Uhmm! I reserve my comments bro.

  2. seyi says:

    I pray that when you are confronted by danger,that is when all the good ddeeds you have sowed will provide a cloak of spiritual protection over you.

  3. Lol, unless a gun or curtlass is involved.
    I have been involved in these random acts assumed to be under the “leading” but still random. I’ve never done 6 (yeah!) but luckily I don’t drive a car that’s large enough.

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