Faith is to believe what you do not see; the reward of this faith is to see what you believe. – Saint Augustine
It had been a long exhausting day and finally, I was closing. I had shut down my laptop and packed my bags twice already; at 5pm, official closing time and then 6pm, when my Hulk of a boss strolled in with more work. I felt like a ragdoll being dragged by a sulking toddler but, new job and eager to impress, I couldn’t leave till 7pm.
The sun had set and it was getting dark outside so I called my sister, but she was too busy to come and pick me up immediately. She suggested I give her 30 minutes, but if I had to wait just one more minute in that building, I would have gone into an epileptic fit!
The area around my office is not residential, trees and many uninhabited construction sites, so it gets really lonely in the evenings. By 6pm, there are hardly any cabs to be found. But I had decided to leave. Even if I had to take the 5 minute walk down the deserted, darkening, tree-lined road to the fueling station, I would brave it. Anywhere or anything but here; I had to get out and get home!
I took the stairs as my weight loss plan required, and as I began the 5-storey decent, alone on the stairs I whispered “Lord, I need a cab”. I was reluctant to pray because my relationship with God is shaky. I struggle…constantly, as I am sure many of us do even if we don’t admit it. My prayer was half-hearted. I thought of EasyTaxi, but that app only works in Lagos, and besides I was too tired to wait for a cab. I repeated my prayer “Lord, please give me a cab”. “Please take care of me”.
I continued repeating it till I got to the end of the stairs; ground floor.
As I headed for the exit, I spotted an elderly woman with whom I had been acquainted. I had helped her process her daughter’s UK visa. We were both heading for the exit and since it’s the Civil Service, I decided to earn a little mind-share by greeting. It was short, she replied and I walked out of the building.
Outside, the sun had set and in a few minutes it would be totally dark. Two older men in their less than pristine black suit stood talking. Their speech slowed as they saw me approach. They stared briefly and I knew it was my hair. I walked by and greeted without slowing. They responded in unison.
Right opposite the entrance gate and across the road, a white old model sedan was parked with its front windows down. The driver was standing by his door; resting his back on the car. I thought to myself “He must be waiting for someone.”
As he saw me approach the gate he straightened and called out “Cab?”. I didn’t respond. In fact I was skeptical because cabs don’t just pack in front of the office. He called out again. I looked up and down the street and there was no other cab, none coming or going.
I walked up to him while peeping in his car to be sure it was empty. It was.
I said “Zone 2.”
“Lets go” he replied.
“How much?” I asked
“It’s 300” I countered, looking away as if I could wait all day for a 300 naira cab to Zone 2.
“Enter.” He said.
I got in the back seat on the passenger’s side just to make sure he couldn’t pick up kidnappers that could strangle me from behind. He drove.
It was then, sitting there, I remembered my prayer.
He heard me.
He had sent me a cab.
He probably had the cab waiting for me before I even remembered to ask.
I fought back tears and considered asking the driver if God sent him to pick me up, but I decided my hair was weird enough, no need to scare the poor guy.