I have only heard in the past, how thieves pose as passengers and rob people blind in buses. I have only heard, that is, until Thursday morning. I got dressed and started on my way to work. As usual, there was bus scarcity. The frown on the faces of angry workers did not help issues. But all the same, one can't blame them. The everyday hustle for bus isn't funny anymore.
We waited until the first bus came. It was almost filled up with passengers from the junction in front before the main bus stop. Those who could rush in to grab the few seats left, did. The bus drove off and the wait for another bus began. None was forth coming. Not able to wait anymore, I walked down to the first junction and as luck would have it, a bus was approaching. Before it halted, I blocked the front passenger door and as soon as it stopped, I opened the door and jumped in. A young man followed behind, shutting the door. I was happy. The bus was filled up and it made a u-turn to Ring Road. At Ring Road, I paid my fare and ran off to the other end where I took a bus to Sapele road. Before I got in, I noticed another bus that was almost empty.
My heart told me to enter the empty one but I shoved the idea aside immediately and got into the one with passengers. I was in a hurry. No time to wait for an empty bus to get filled up.
The young man by my side, dark, in his early thirties or late twenties, turned to me. "Errrr errr?" he made that sound taping at his wrist.
I took out my small tecno phone and showed the bright screen to him. It was 8:15am.
Satisfied at knowing what the time was, he waved me with gratitude. I knew he was thankful. He turned to his phone and started to type on it, I guess he was correcting the time on his phone.
The journey progressed smoothly, until the conductor asked everyone to pay. I pulled the opening of my bag side. It was not well closed because of my big dairy inside; I had to pull the zip to the end. I brought out my small black purse, took out a hundred naira note and paid. The conductor gave me change which I kept in the purse and zipped up. I then left it in my open bag.
On approaching Kada Fries, the driver asked. Any Kada?
"Errrr... Errr." This voice was higher this time. I felt sympathy towards him. Just imagine a guy who can't talk. He had to make noise every now and then to communicate with another person. I thought of how I could help. Even if not now, at least in the future. I thought of a world were every deaf or dumb person would have a good life.
While the above filled my thought, the bus finally pulled over at Kada Fries and the passenger moved to come down. Unfortunately as he stood, he fell, half way across me. I helped him sit up, while wondering why he fell. No one had ever fallen like that on me. But what surprised me more was when he started to say, not so audibly though.
"Help me pick am, e fall from my hand."
I looked in the opposite direction, where he was pointing. So did the man next to me on the right. After looking a while, we saw nothing and looked back at him.
"Sowi e dey my hand." He apologized. His voice was still not audible.
He got down and his phone rang instantly. He received it just as the bus engine roared to life, getting ready to move.
"I dey front of Kada now. I don reach. Where you dey." His voice was firm and loud. Imagine my surprised.
"So he can talk well?" That was the first question that crossed my mind. I made a face and shook my head. About Five minutes later, I remembered I needed to send a message to a doctor friend. I searched for my small black purse. But it was gone. I was speechless.
The he-goat pretending to be dumb was the one who took it. Falling half way on me, distracting us with something that fell when nothing actually fell. I raised alarm, but it was the other passengers that helped me rant and cry and talk. I was just speechless afterwards. I was thinking about my phone and all the documents in my memory card. I have no backup except for some I have in my email.
I finally got to the office and almost walked past everyone without saying a word of greeting. My thoughts were far. I still wanted to believe that what happened was film trick or a bad mistake that would soon correct itself.
"Ah ah, Karo. I'm greeting you now. You didn't greet anybody. I'm greeting you but you won't answer. What's the problem?" The director asked.
"Good morning sir." I greeted. "I'm sorry. But someone just stole my phone." It was then reality sank in. Saying those words confirmed, even to me, what had happened. My phone was gone. A phone that served more as a laptop than a phone. A phone that had everything.
Good for me, everyone was leaving, going to the field. I was soon alone. I stayed in the office, calling the number with my torch light phone which was fortunately, in my hand when the incident happened. Else, it would have been stolen too.
The he-goat refused to pick my call. He sent me a text saying he was driving. That he'd call when he got to his destination. I read the text five times over. The English was clean. No short hand. Then it hit me. This person is an educated person but decided to behave like an illiterate, like a fool who knows not his left or right. I sent him series of messages, begging for my phone. Finally, he switched off the phone or took out my sim card and till now, te line is not connecting. It was then I realized I was not getting my phone back.
I started to call those I could call to remove me from certain whatsapp groups so that the idiot wouldn't gain access to in-house discussions and information. I used the small phone to reset my Facebook password and logout from all other devices. I asked a dear friend, Peju, to help me with my gmail and website password reset. The phone couldn't do it. She did. I can't thank her enough.
A dear friend called that morning. It was he who bought me my phone laptop as a gift. I told him to ignore messages from my whatsapp account and he asked why. So I repeated the incident. He laughed and yabbed the hell outta me. I should have been angry at him. But couldn't. In fact, he made me laugh when I never thought it possible. After a while, he said he had an advice for me.
"What?" I asked.
"Shey you say your oga sent you to pay money into someone's account?"
"Good. Now go and come. When you return, tell him your purse was stolen, along with the money. He will sympathise with you. Then later, use the money to buy another phone."
"Chai! Since when you turn AME robber?" I laughed. He laughed too.
We spent time talking. He loosened me up and ended the call by giving me another phone. Another laptop phone to work with, to build my online work and I couldn't be grateful enough. I still don't know how to thank him.
Later that morning, I went to the bank to pay in the money I was sent to pay. It was then I realized that my ATM cards, voter's ID card, office keys, transport fare, etc were in my purse. I sighed, trying to shake off the loss. I used the opportunity away from the office to block both cards. Now I just have to start the process of getting another voter's card.
So my people, I know you're waiting for updates. But when one packs into a new house or office, you need to arrange everything and settle down before you can work. I'm trying to get other works I lost, at least the ones I have online. The others are gone forever and I'll need to re-write them. So please, be patient with me.
I still rewind the scene in my head and which I had quickly known what was up. I've never been robbed from like this. I'm always conscious. The imbecile must have known too, that was why he needed to gain my sympathy first and then distract me. Anyway, what's done is done. The guy has only proved to me and the world that he can never be bigger than that phone. He can't.
Moral of the story: When you see an imbecile or a dumb person moving closer to you or your property or seeking your attention, think twice; show no sympathy. That person may just be planning to snatch away everything you've got.