I still owe that taxi driver a hundred francs for his ride. I hope to pay one day.
It was a very bright morning in Buea, August 28, 2019. I dressed so sharply to work: a tight black top over a short “flair Kedike” skirt garnished with a pair of red glasses and white high sandals. I was sparkling like the sun and I were in a competition. I walked past many people who appreciated my beauty, walking mannerism and the usual broad smile. My skirt waved from left to right as I flung those short, fresh round legs. I was hurrying to work. It was past 9AM.
Immediately I got to Biaka junction, I spotted an old taxi waiting for me across the road. The driver was horning ceaselessly at me. The usual me will never break a taxi across the road. Any driver man wishing to carry me will have to wait until I cross the road before looking his way. The armoured and military cars appear unexpectedly these days and I wouldn’t want to bear the risk of being crushed in the middle of the road.
So, I kept him hanging until I crossed the road. But there was a cleaner one approaching me from my right. I had to go for it. It was my kind of taxi. I love clean cars because they smell nice. When I boarded that one, the other who had been waiting like forever zoomed off murmuring only what God knows to himself.
“1st Trust, please I have 100frs”, I proposed. “pim pim”, the driver indicated I should enter
As I succeeded to squeeze myself in the front seat, I opened my bag immediately to get my fare ready.
Ah ah, I couldn’t find my wallet. “Hhhhhmmm for Buea again? Na trouble di come so ooo”, I said under my breath. Everyone knows taxi men in Buea don’t joke with their ‘kobo’. “If you play, them di stop moto, put you for down, move ya one side shoe until that money comot”. I have been hearing of these horrible stories but never witnessed them. “My own don come today ya. How I go start driver say I no di see money? Na today wey dem go move all these teeth them for my mop”.
I opened the entire bag, removed everything but still could not find my wallet. Ok, I opened the smaller side of the bag, there were no coins still. I repeated the whole process all over but was lucky to find just 50frs. This was positive but how do I start telling a driver who is disgruntled about fuel price and people living town that I had just 50frs to pay for his ride? Of course I didn’t want him to see Eduke as some ‘Slay Queen’ who didn’t have money for taxi fare.
My fidgeting didn’t go unnoticed. He saw me struggling with the bag too. The stray 50frs I had picked from my bag fell off and I couldn’t find it anymore.
We were approaching my destination but I didn’t know what to tell him. When we reached Congelcam, I cleared my throat, “ehhm eehhm eehhm, Driver ooo, I no know how we go dto eehh, ei dey like say I don forget my posa for house”. Fine girl who was bombarding driver with grammar before entering the taxi is now broadcasting in pidgin hahhahahahah. He didn
I noticed the gospel music he was playing in his car. The grammar he spoke with other passengers before they alighted and his docile looks. I consoled myself he may understand my situation and let me go.
Fortunately for me, his phone started ringing before we could reach 1st Trust and it seemed it was a call he had been waiting for. He picked immediately, “Allo, I dey around 1st Trust I di cam”. I knew he was hurrying. I told him I was alighting. I got down not knowing what to tell him.
Then something came to my mind. “Abeg just wait small make I go upstairs go bring ya money ya”. His attention was no longer with me. It seemed he caught a bigger fish. I couldn’t help but feel embarrassed.
As God will do his things, he told me to go. That I shouldn’t bother about the money. He zoomed off before I could even thank him.
I prayed 5 Hail Marys before reaching the office. You needed to see the smile on my face again. I had to take some cool pics to keep the memory of that day.
- First of all, I want to thank that taxi driver for being so kind. I can only Imagine the embarrassment if it were the hostile specie.
- Please, dear travelers, always have money in liquid and illiquid forms.
- Have and open mind like the driver and the passenger. It can happen to anybody.
- Dear ladies, you know we are vulnerable in times like this, make sure you leave the house with cash first before ID cards. Your cash can compensate for missing ID card.
Have you ever had this experience? How did you react or the taxi driver react?