So yesterday I’m among the many Lagosians struggling to get home from work. I’d just watched a few minutes of “Think like a man” (for the third time) on the bus ride and am in good spirits when I alight the bus. I hop along the street with some song playing in my head and a smile on my lips. There are no buses in sight and the crowd is huge but its not my first time. I take my friend’s advice to chin up (I complained to him about the same traffic in the morning) and wait for the next speeding bus to get to the bus stop.
Not far away is a quiet crowd watching a passenger express his anger at their bus driver. The passenger wants his fare refunded even though he has gotten to his final destination (HUNH?). No, actually he wanted to drop halfway through the trip but the driver having already collected the fare, refuses to refund. It’s a Lagos traffic
law norm which I can’t thoroughly explain here, but as soon as we get wind of the situation, we ignore it; Mr. Passenger is at fault jor!
Soon after the dramatic episode (which left Mr. Passenger with two broken fingers and a ride to the hospital by Mr. Calm driver), I see two buses speed to a halt. The crowd rushes to get into them and I strategize on how to maneuver the pushing bodies (Yes, some of us don’t rush into buses;;)).
As I do this I see someone’s fingers quickly (and I mean QUICKLY) browsing someone’s back pockets. The victim is a tall cute guy who had arrived the bus stop a little after I did… What? Don’t give me that look, It’s becoming natural for me to cautiously observe my environment – including the people in it… Back to my story!
So I see this guy browsing my guy’s pockets, and before I have the time to think of what to do to help the situation, reflex takes over.
THWOCK! I land the suspect a flat-handed slap on the back with all the strength my fragile hand can muster, and I hear myself shouting “STOP!!” at the same time the “chop” descends.
WTF? I hear my mind scream…. You. Did Not. Just. Do. That.
Please pardon the abbreviated french. If you know me well, you’d know I don’t cuss. I however have this weakness of using the F-word when I feel I have made a mistake in thought, word, or deed – which could occur between 3 – 7 times a day. I don’t speak it, I either think or whisper it. A sign of self-condemnation, I guess. I’m praying about it. Please pray for me too, please?
Anyways, Mr. Suspect turns around with a look of surprised pain on his face. I return a stare of surprised fear, both of our eyes wide open. He begins to shout and point at me, and all I can say is “I saw you trying to steal from that man!” I’m sure I sounded polite while I said it.
By this time our long-awaited bus is fully occupied and is slowly driving off, with Mr. Cute Victim in it and totally unaware that I was trying to save him! I quietly start to walk away when I notice a woman in the bus frantically motioning to me to come, so I catch up and take up her offer to sit on her laps. She explains that he might have been there with his colleagues who may have harassed me later on. With no hero in sight to save me (The latest heroine in town), I feel her decision to lap me is a very wise one!
About 30 minutes later when I’m on the next bus ride to my (almost) final destination, I see Mr. Cute (almost) Victim calmly strolling past my bus, looking for one going his way. By this time I’m calm, but I almost feel like screaming through the window “I saved your cute bum, and you’re welcome!”, but I slowly watch him walk away, and like the heroine that I am, I smile to myself and relax to endure the next hour in traffic.