It was barely a few minutes past 6 am and both passenger and driver were itching for their bed, pillows and a good sleep. For the driver, a continuation of a good sleep that had been disrupted to go pick up a spouse who worked through the night. For the passenger it was a long sought sleep time after a night spent stabilizing patients who had returned to life after a temporary suspension and some patients who did not wake either during or soon after surgical intervention. We were five minutes from home when we saw a sight that looked abnormal – a young man trying to lift a similarly young woman from the floor who was wailing uncontrollably by the side of a major road. Our initial instinct was to ignore and drive as Eko (Lagos) is a city of scams but on a second thought, we looked each other in the eye and agreed instantly to have a second look. The reverse gear was engaged and we within seconds we were parked next to the pair.
While the woman kept screaming “they have taken everything” between her heavy sobs, the young man was more articulate and told us a summarized tale of how they entered a bus on their way to work (both were workers in two different banks). A bus that turned out to be filled with criminals, who proceeded to rob them of all their belongings, took them to close by ATMs and withdrew maximum sums in their accounts, (even went further by transferring huge cash from their accounts to third parties), repeatedly attempted to rape the lady and had even began to violate her physically in a most violent way. After all these, they drove them to the other end of town and just pushed them off the bus. Both the lady and the man had never met themselves before that morning but suddenly were united by their tragedy.
Without much ado, we helped them into the car and drove home. The man was shocked into calmness by the elaborate mugging he had experienced but the lady was inconsolable. Her undies were torn, she had been fingered in the most violent way, her engagement ring taken without even counting her stolen money. The lady wanted us to reach her brother by phone and tell him what had happened and where she was. The man wanted us to call his dad and sister and relate same to them. The lady’s brother immediately started heading our way to pick her up while my passenger carried out a physical medical examination, made some tea and a few more feminine tasks I am unaware of, I walked the man back to the taxi rank, got a cab to take him to his office (as he insisted on going to work because he held the key to the vault), paid for the cab and gave him a little extra just in case, promised to call hos bosses at work to alert them to his late coming and keep calling his relatives until i got them and explained his present situation to them.
Days later, the man’s dad called me repeatedly first to thank me and ask me how he could refund the money (I laughed it off), then to pray for me most passionately as he was most touched by our goodness and kindness to his lad. On all occasions, he sure sounded shocked that we could inconvenience ourselves for no ulterior benefit. Not even the benefit of blessings from on high. After those first two days, we never heard from the pair of stranded passengers again and have no intention whatsoever of hearing from them. Infact their numbers have long been deleted from our phones.
This simple tale of goodness for its own sake resonates with several acts of kindness I have received in my short life. Much more, it seems to be rare occurrences in today’s world, especially here in Nigeria. The Pentecostal persuasion that every good act, every gift, every offering is a seed that one must reap a hundred fold. There seems to always be an expectation for every kind act rendered. This ROI mentality cloaked in pseudo-spirituality that bares an ugly face of humanity is very unChristlike at its core. As is succinctly captured in that English football cliche; It is the hope that kills you (something that my Spurs friends are feeling at the moment). Performing acts of goodness with a perpetual hope of commensurate return (and even multiples) is a fundamental root cause of some of the angst and frustration that bubbles through in some of our most religious societies.
There is something refreshing in doing good. There is no denying that good is often rewarded. However, it will be scam to attempt to believe or convince others that all good will be pressed down, shaken together and running over. That hope sure does kill. There is something most refreshing in doing good for goodness sake. It reaffirms humanity and additionally for does of us who believe, it is a fruit of godliness. Just do good!!
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