I remember an incident that happened to me late last year. One of those Monday mornings when one has to wake up extra early to beat traffic, we all know how gangster Monday morning traffic in Lagos could get. I was already at the junction to my estate waiting for a bus. After waiting for what seemed to be an eternity, I finally found a bus with one seat left, I quickly hopped on. Next thing, the conductor of the bus asked me to pay an unusual price, unusual because it was more expensive. I told him how much I was willing to pay, which is the normal fare. Then he threatened that if I insisted on paying the normal fare, he would drag me out of the bus. It was either of two things – pay and enjoy a peaceful ride to the office or face the consequences, haha. I already knew which one to pick, I definitely don’t have the energy to match that of a Lagos conductor. I’ll pay, don’t worry.
The passengers on the bus were irritated by the conductor’s behavior. Every single one of them spoke up in my defense. The elderly lady sitting in front of me insisted that I must pay the usual fare, she even dared him to carry out his threat, the guy sitting behind me raised his voice at the conductor. Every single person in the bus shouted at his unfair and cruel behavior. This went on for a couple of minutes before the driver intervened and called his conductor to order. You’re wondering where I was in the midst of all these, right? I was just there looking and smiling in my heart, listening to people whom I barely know and would probably never meet again for the rest of my life fight on my behalf like they had something to gain from it or like I was their sister, daughter, or friend. I don’t think I would ever recognize those people if I were to pass them by in the street but I felt like they were family. It felt like I was part of a community where people cared for each other genuinely. It made me feel hopeful. And yes, I paid the normal fare.
Today, the stories everywhere are just so sad and heartbreaking. Suicide, rape, killings of innocent people all over. How do we sleep at night, with all the coldness in our world? I heard a couple say recently that they are afraid of bringing a child into the world because they wouldn’t want to worry about the child and what he/she would experience; that’s really sad. How do we respond to all of these happenings?
Wondering to myself, what if we lived in a world where people shout at the top of their lungs when some random person in the street is being marginalized or maltreated, where rape is non-existent, where race only refers to marathons or any competitive sport and where everyone genuinely cared for the next person. That would make a beautiful picture… I wish that was the case.
It comes down to YOU and I. We need to decide to be kinder to people around us both in our deeds and the words that we say. Let us choose to speak up and not turn our eyes the other way when someone is being treated unfairly, let us learn to correct each other in love and teach our children to do the same. Let us be the reason why someone is hopeful about the world.
Shine your little light, It doesn’t seem like it would make much of a difference but it actually does. An act of kindness, a hug, a smile, an encouraging word are the little ways we can make the world better.❤❤