I had developed a nasty cough and cold last week, so I stopped by a popular pharmacy in Lagos, Nigeria to get some medicine to treat them. I had paid for the medicine and was heading out of the store when I saw a pretty young lady making a scene right out front.
Apparently, an elderly bike man – probably in his late 50s to mid-60s – had just dropped off the young lady who looked to be in her late 20s. A little while after she alighted, she began shouting at the elderly man for her change, threatening fire and brimstone. I wondered what would cause a young lady to scream so loudly at someone obviously that elderly.
I moved closer and overheard the elderly man calmly trying to explain to her that he charged her an extra N50 because she had made an impromptu stop at a supermarket. At that point, the lady became visibly enraged and practically dragged the elderly man down from his bike.
A small crowd had begun to gather at the scene. Most of them inquired why the lady was rough-handling and insulting a man old enough to be her father. Eventually, someone shoved a N50 note in her hand and shooed her off amid rebukes from other observers.
Just as the elderly man mounted his bike, the owner of the pharmacy, who had apparently been observing all too, stopped him. Out of empathy, the owner of the pharmacy gave him N10,000 as compensation for his troubles. That made the few observers still around cheer.
Giddy with excitement, the elderly man thanked the pharmacy owner with much enthusiasm. He unwittingly shared how the N10,000 gift will go a long way in helping pay for his son’s hospital bill. It turns out the elderly man had fixed his old bike so he could raise some money.
The owner of the pharmacy asked the elderly man how much the hospital bill was and he replied that it was N50,000. The elderly man explained that he was raising money to help pay for the treatment of his widower son who was recovering from illness.
Then the most amazing thing happened! Right there, the owner of the pharmacy offered the elderly man another N10,000. That wasn’t all though. A wealthy-looking customer from the pharmacy who had also witnessed part of the scenario offered him N30,000 from his car.
The elderly man was genuinely stunned by the generosity of these strangers. He was speechless for a few seconds but he soon snapped out of it, and began thanking the men profusely and praying for them endlessly. Of course, he was grateful; he had so much joy written all over his face.
I was rooted to the spot, completely awed by the turn of events. The whole thing was just too surreal! Usually, I would have walked away and paid no mind to such a scene, but that day, I lingered for reasons I am yet to articulate. I am glad I did though.
As I walked away from the store, I couldn’t help but marvel at what I had just seen. Life is so unpredictable and full of pleasant surprises sometimes. I am certain the elderly man would never have thought that such an embarrassing situation could have turned around for his good.
There is something to be said about being patient and tolerant in all circumstances, trusting that as we play our part to make our lives better, the tide of life will turn in our favour.