Scratch that. Some people are just not good. But since I mostly know Nigerians, forgive me.
Wednesday August 12, I had an errand. I got a cab to take me. When we got there, the cabdriver asked if he should wait. I said I would not be able to pay him because I might be a while, as many as three hours. He said he’d wait anyway so I shrugged and said okay. We agreed on four thousand Naira one way, so to and fro would be eight thousand Naira.
On our way, he had to buy fuel, asked me for one thousand Naira. Then when I got off, I offered to pay for one way in case he changed his mind and wanted to leave. He said no, he’d just like two hundred Naira to buy food. I however gave him another one thousand, meaning I’d paid a two thousand advance altogether.
As I left the car, I was thinking that this is how life should be, people being able to trust each other because really, there was nothing stopping me disappearing. All he had was my phone number and that meant nothing. It gave me a good feeling.
A little over two hours later, I was back and we commenced our return journey home. It was hitch free until about 300 metres from my house. Traffic had built up on our lane but most of the cars were turning right and we were going straight, so since the lane of oncoming traffic was free, the driver decided to enter that lane. Wrong but common. I was on a long work phone call and vaguely aware of what was happening.
Suddenly, a police van approached from the lane we’d entered, sighted my cab and immediately stopped and jumped out yelling ‘park park.’ I still took no notice thinking well, he can explain himself, not my problem really. I was still on the phone. Then it all went to hell. I thought he was going to park. Instead, he put the car in reverse, hit the gas pedal and took off. I could not believe it. Since the police had left their van, it took them a few seconds to recover, jump into their car and give chase. In that time, my cab reversed for about two hundred metres, did a crazy spin like in the movies when he saw an opportunity and continued running.
Needless to say I had gotten off the phone by this time and was begging/yelling for him to stop. He paid me absolutely no heed, just kept going. I don’t know that I have ever been that frightened in my life. Of course, the police were hot on our bumper, some of them hanging out of their car, their headlights blazing. And my cab driver was driving like a maniac trying to get away. I was sure I was dead. I really was.
Just before we got to Ikeja bridge, by Awolowo, the road got a bit cramped and we were forced to slow down. I immediately opened the door and jumped out of the cab. The chase continued without me. The moment I hit the ground, I started crying. Maybe in anger, maybe in fright but definitely in relief. I was badly shaken. People gathered round me holding me and saying how lucky I was and to be grateful. I called my elder sister and she asked me to pull myself and try and get home. I did. Just as I got on my street, the cab man started calling me. I was like, you have to be kidding me. I was still on the phone with my sister. She asked me not to even answer him, then changed her mind and said okay, I should not pay him his complete money cuz heck, he endangered my life.
I called him back. But I was too shaken and exhausted. So I just asked him to come and meet me on my street, said I’d wait. He came. Apologized profusely. I was too weary. I told him to just be thankful I was alive and never to do such a thing again. I knew of course he would but I just wanted it all to be over. So in that state of mind, I gave him eight thousand Naira.
Less than ten minutes later, I realized what I’d done. I called him back and told him to come back and return two thousand Naira because I’d overpaid him. He said he had gone too far and would come the next day. BUT WOULD BE ABLE TO ONLY GIVE ME ONE THOUSAND BECAUSE HE HAD TO FIX HIS CAR, A PROBLEM THAT AROSE FROM THE CAR CHASE. I could not even believe what I was hearing. I started yelling, lost it. Asked him if he realises that I had the option of not paying him at all and this is how he pays me back? I ended the call by saying if he had my two thousand, to come the next day, or not at all.
I told my younger sister. When I finished she told me calmly that he was not coming back, so she told me what to do. The plan is to act like it’s okay and get him to come and take me somewhere, I need to make sure the place is a distance of at least four thousand Naira, and then not pay him. *Nods*
I just called him about thirty minutes again and sweetly asked him how he’s doing and saying hey, I never saw him again. He apologized and said he would come on Wednesday (two whole weeks from the day it happened). I smiled. I already know he is not going to come. I am going to plan this carefully. I am going to make sure when I do get him to take me somewhere (and he will because I am going to play it like no hard feelings, I understand and people who think like this think everyone is stupid) It will be a distance of at least four thousand Naira. And I will make sure it’s a place where he can’t hurt me. Not that he could if he tried. He’s an older man, much older and I swear, I will slap him if I have to. Plus he ran from the police. I will copy his license plate number and tell him I will report him if he dares make a scene and no, he does not know my house.
Really, sometimes you wonder how heartless people are. It never ceases to amaze and my prayer is may it never cease to amaze because then, I would have lost faith in humanity.