I had spotted his frail frame swathed in an old pink 'buba and sokoto', long before my car pulled to an abrupt halt by the traffic lights at Alausa Secretariat. He ambled unsteadily on the sidewalk, stooped with old and maybe a hard life.
He would have passed on by, another stranger on a busy Lagos road, if I hadn't accidentally pressed the car horn whilst trying to increase the volume of the CD player.
He must have been startled by the sudden noise. He stopped to look at the source of the sound and caught my gaze momentarily, I quickly averted my eyes, I didn't want any connection.
But my insistent peering at the number plate of the car ahead of my didn't deter him, he ambled towards me, looking through the open passenger side window.
I mentally willed him to keep moving on, I didn't want to hear his story, I have enough of my own to tell, but he didn't.
He held on to the side mirror, perhaps to steady himself and them proceeded with his monologue. I didn't want to listen, I tried not to listen but I heard 'Prof. or Dr. Ikuomola', I heard 'LASU', I heard 'help', and I heard 'We need N1,200 more'.
I started to wonder how many ears must have heard those same words from him. Does he do this for a living???
I turned to look at him for the first time and then I asked myself how low would a person have to sink before he looses all sense of dignity and begin to ask total strangers for paltry sums of money. Even if he was scamming, it must have taken a lot to do what he is doing because I know that striking up a conversation with a stranger ain't easy at all o.
N1,200 was all he required that day, I had N1,000 with me, I've been looking for a recharge card vendor, I wanted to call home for someone to get dinner started. I took a quick look at my sleeping babies spent from their active day in school. I looked at the man again, N1,000 to me was airtime but to him it was probably transportation home, a meal, and/or a loaf of agege bread for his brood of hungry children.
I gave him the money, he took it quickly still holding on to the side mirror, he began to hit it with his other hand as he offered a prayer of thanksgiving for the unexpected miracle!!!
He thanked me profusely stepping back unto the sidewalk to continue with his journey.
The traffic lights turned green and I sped off glad to have made a difference to one person more today.
But seriously, what could his story have been? His spoken English was good enough, so he must have been sufficiently educated, he probably once had a job, he would have a wife ( or wives) and grown up children. What bend in the road had he taken that led him down to penury and begging??? Was he a victim of circumstances or his own deliberate fault???
Whatever his story might have been, he needed a break, we all need a break sometimes.
Father Lord, I bless you because today the scripture is fulfilled in me. I am blessed and I am a blessing.
I lay that N1000 on your altar as a sacrifice and I tie my destiny as well as the destiny of all my descendants as long as this earth would remain, to your supreme altar in heaven with this sacrifice.
I stand now upon your word in Psalm 37:25 which says:
I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.I will never be forsaken and none of my seed will ever have to beg for their sustenance in Jesus name.