“Go and help that man. ” A loud voice whispered to me. It was 7:30 am. I just rushed out of my house after a quick shower and dressing up before my standing mirror. I wasn’t able to put on my tie so I quickly placed it in my pocket to wear it when I get to the office. I was already late to work so I was in haste to get a vehicle or take a bus to work so as to beat the 8am resumption time and Lagos traffic.
I had become a regular late Comer. It started when promotion was done a year back and I wasn’t recommended by my manager because I gave him a piece of my mind about his affair with our receptionist. I had asked her out severally confessing my love for her but she turned me down on all occasion without even giving it a thought. I had wondered why she turned me down knowing fully well that my feelings for her were genuine until one day when I entered our managers office without knocking and caught her and my manager kissing. I wouldn’t have been surprised if he was single like me, but he is married with three children. I couldn’t help but drop tears. Thoughts of why a lady would prefer a married man to a single guy like me clouded my mind through out that day. The next day, my manager called me to his office and threatened to get me fired if I revealed his affair with our secretary to anyone. I let him know how disappointed I am of him but he stood to his threats so I shut my mouth. The worse surprised came when my colleagues were all promoted and I was left out because Mr manager did not recommend me to the big boss at the head quarter of our pension management firm.
I always used the 15 minutes grace period given to us by the management of the company where I work. I have joined the group of people who go to work to make ends meet, because not being promoted when I was due for promotion made me hate my working environment. The day before that day, the supervisor of my team, the marketing team, warned me dragging his ears that I should not come to work the next day late. That the big boss from our general head quarter would be visiting to check on our activities in that branch.
The man the voice asked me to help was a man in his early fifties dressed as if he is also headed for an office. I could see him opposite me from the junction where I was to take a bus or taxi heading to my office direction, battling with the Bonnet of his Navy blue Honda Pilot Jeep. After some period of arguing with the voice reminding it of my supervisors warning, I decided to do as the voice say and crossed to the other side of the road to go help the man.
“Good day sir. Please what is the problem? I asked to please the voice, as if I am a trained mechanic. I know his car was over heating. I could feel the heat coming from the bonnet.
“The car is overheating. I forgot to check the radiator before i headed for the road, this morning.”
He explained with a calm tone. From his tone, I deduced he wasn’t someone in a hurry to get anywhere.
“Here I am, trying to help a man that does not know I am already late for work. Why did I even cross over self?
I argued again with the voice. But the voice still insist I helped him, so I pondered for some seconds. Then asked him:
“How can I be of help to you sir?”
“I would appreciate if you help me get water to refill the radiator. ”
I went into the compound close to the junction and asked the people I met there for help. One of them went into his house and came out with a bucket of water with a small cup to fetch the water and fill the radiator. I thanked him and promised to return the bucket as soon as I am done. When I got back to the car, the radiator had cooled down. The man made gestures to collect the bucket from me and fill the radiator himself but I insisted on doing it myself. Soon as I was done filling the radiator with water, I rushed down to the compound where I got the water to return the bucket and thanked the guy for his kindness. The man had already started the car waiting for me to return.
“Thank you for helping me out with the radiator. Please Where are you headed?”
“I am going to work. I work with Steadfast Pensions Ikeja. ”
“Lucky you. I am also heading to Ikeja. Hop in let me drop you there. ”
“Thank you sir.” I joined him at the front seat of the Jeep. The windows were down. He asked me to use a button by the door to raise them up, then turned on the air condition of the car as we drove off.The cool breath experience in the car mixed with the air freshener made me wish I had this experience everyday to save me off the stress of taking public transport.
“Tell me about your company. I don’t trust these pension firms. People say to save your money with them is easy. Collecting it when you retire is the problem. I already have a pension account with another firm. The company I work with opened it for me on the day of my employment, twenty two years back as a necessity for all their staffs. Soon I will be retiring, I want to know more about it so it would be easier for me to collect my money with them.”
“Sir, you must have known how much you have on your pension account now. I believe your pension company send you allert monthly.”
“They don’t. But my company pay them monthy. It’s the number of years i work with the Company that I will calculate as my pension. ”
“What if they argue that your company did not pay them for some months? You are suppose to have evidence that this is how much you have with them. To avoid such occurrence. At Steadfast pension, we don’t do that. We send you allert monthly. Also send you an hard copy of your pension fund balance in a customised envelope bearing our company’s logo and seal. Your pension company is suppose to be plain with you. It’s your money, your sweath. You are entitled to know how much you have with them and how much you will collect when you retire. ”
“I used to think my pension fund matters is between my company and the pension firm. Now that I know, I will demand for my pension fund balance and damand to be updated monthly on how much the company is paying, so I know how much I will collect when I retire. Thank you very much. ”
“You are welcome sir. Here is my card incase you have any more questions. You can recommend us to your company incase of the incoming staffs.”
“I would do my best to ensure that. Your services are far more better with what you just explained to me.”
I smiled as he put the card in his pocket. Marketers sell anything anywhere. It’s how we pay our bills and know we are good at what we do. The journey was smooth and swift. There was not much traffic as I usually experience on Tuesday mornings. I alighted from the car when we got to the premises of my office and wave him goodbye after thanking him for the ride, then checked my wrist watch. It was already 9am.
“Oh my God! I am way behind schedule. Our visitor must have arrived! What lie do I tell them now?
I tried thinking of a great excuse to give them for my late coming but nothing came to my mind.
“Well, I am late for a good reason. I will just tell them it was hold up. After all they caused this late coming attitude. If they had promoted me like the others I won’t be dragging my feet to come to work. I will just face them like this. Nothing will happen. ”
I said nothing will happen but deep inside, I was afraid of facing the big boss as a late Comer. My heart beat faster than ever like they were on the front line of a drumming competition. Suggestion of going back home topped my mind as I approached the reception to clock in my resumption time but the receptionist was not on seat. Not meeting the receptionist on her duty post increased my tension but I summoned courage and took the stairs to my office floor. The office environment was normal. No tension as I anticipated, no guest. Everyone was everyone except they were gathered on my desk discussing.
“They guest has arrived and left. I was picked for absence. Could it mean I have been fired as the manager threatened earlier?
I tried figuring out why the receptionist, our manager and my other colleagues were at my desk discussing, as I approached them.
“Congratulations David. You have been promoted. You will no longer be working here. You will now be working as the personal assistant to the big boss at the head quarters.”
Our manager, stretch his hand to me for a hand shake with a long face as he hand my promotion letter from the head quarter to me. I couldn’t believe my eyes. I went for the letter and left his hand hanging. Take a look at it to confirm myself, and Went on my kneels to thank God. My supervisor used his eyes to notify me of our managers hand hanging.
“Thank you sir.”
I took his hand as I got up. My eyes met our receptionist eyes. She quickly turned. She couldn’t believe what she was hearing.
“How did it happened sir? I mean I wasn’t in the office when he came.”
“He did not come as promised. He called that he met one of our staffs on his way here and he told him everything about us. He even went ahead to sell the Company and what we do here to him unknown to him that he was talking to the CEO of the company. That staff happened to be you, David. He said you gave him your card. His personal assistant got another appointment abroad so he needed a qualified replacement. Why he wanted to visit us and other branch. You won his heart. Congratulations again. ”
- A lot of thoughts flooded my mind about what would have happened if I had not stopped to help him with his car bonnet. I would have missed this great opportunity. It pays to be good. Big things truly comes in small packages.