#MundaneConversations – What a taxi driver taught me about life

I find life amusing sometimes. We usually go about thinking that we have the worst problem in the world until we meet someone with bigger problems. A few years ago when my dad went broke, I literally thought it was the end of the world. How was I supposed to survive? The monthly allowance I received vanished and I had to get used to a lower standard of living. I thought I had it bad until I got back to Nigeria and started to interact with people on the streets. There was one particular conversation I had with a pepper seller that brought me to tears. It made appreciate the little that I had. There are people who have absolutely nothing.

I felt the same way yesterday on my way back from Church. I didn’t plan on going to Church yesterday for our ‘7 days of glory program’ because I knew it was going to end late and I didn’t want to get stuck in the Lagos traffic. Apparently God had other plans. Someone from the Church office called me and he managed to convince me to attend. So I dragged myself out of my house by 5.30pm and went to Church. Unfortunately, I could not stay till the end. When the guest minister was about to preach I looked at the time and it was 8:05pm. Hian…what time will he now finish? I decided to leave then because I didn’t want to start telling stories when I got home.

When I got outside, I nearly cried. The traffic was intense. So taking a bus was out of the option. Even the BRT lane was blocked. I flagged down a taxi and after we agreed on a price I got in. I was not looking forward to the long journey home. So many things were going on in my mind. Then the taxi driver began to speak. I gave a fake laugh, threw in some ‘ehen’, ‘abi’ here and there, hoping he would get the message that I was not interested in having a conversation. He didn’t get the message. So I let him continue. At first I wasn’t listening to what he was saying but then I noticed something. When we got to Ojota, people started greeting him from everywhere. It was like he was the area chief of that zone.

“Oga you must be really popular oh, this one that everybody is hailing you.” He laughed and said, “My sister, it pays to do good.” He went on to tell me how, a few days to Christmas, the vehicle he was using for his taxi business broke down on the expressway. He told me how he hustled for N20,000 to have it fixed so that he could continue his work. He didn’t have enough money to “do Christmas.” After he got the money, he took the vehicle to the mechanic only for the mechanic to spoil the engine completely. He was told he would need N50,000 to get another engine. He resigned to faith and told his wife Christmas was going to be low-key.

Then something happened – a friend of his asked him to use one of his cars to drop off his relative. When he wanted to return the car, his friend asked him to keep the car and continue to use it until his car was fixed. The taxi man started using the car but went back to his friend to give him the proceeds of each day which he refused to collect. Suddenly, he could make money again. Another miraculous thing happened; people started to bring food items and gifts to his house. One pack of juice here, half bag of rice there and so on. He said, “Me that I no get money to do Christmas I now dey serve people food.”  To top everything up, last week, he went to visit another friend who asked him why he was not using his car. After narrating the whole story to him, the friend gave him the N50,000 he needed. Immediately he went to the mechanic’s place and deposited the money. He picked up the car yesterday and decided to visit his family in Otta. He was on his way home when I flagged him down. I was his first customer.

I smiled when he finished narrating his story. His statement, “It pays to do good” kept replaying in my mind. He could not have been more correct. Sometimes it seems like things are not working out for you even when you are doing all the right things. It looks like your efforts are in vain. But do you know what? You are simply storing up treasures for yourself. The good you do always comes back to you one way or the other. So don’t get weary. Keep helping people. Continue to show love to those who don’t have anything. Bless people with the little that you have in your hands. You don’t know how your ‘little’ will change that person’s life.

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