More often than not, I’ve lived by the ‘cut your cloak according to your size’ cliché. But I get caught up sometimes in situations where I want an extra ice cream or one of those petty things which come staring at your face like orphans and you need to adopt them and take care of them in your own special way.
That afternoon when I requested for an Uber, the price seemed quite outrageous, but I knew if not for the fact that I was broke, it would have been normal to me. Then the thought of taking risks and adventurous cues flooded my mind and I decided to order it anyway. Who cares? I didn’t have the money, but I needed to get home anyway. I didn’t think the driver would bring me back from where he picked me if I told him my money wasn’t enough, so I pompously placed the request and within a couple of minutes, a newly registered red Toyota Camry pulled up.
‘Ewuramah’? the driver asked a bit sternly and I wondered if I should say yes and suffer the regrets or say no, cancel the trip and run to the nearest trotro station. That would have been in contrast with the adventurous girl I desired to be, so I smiled, walked shoulders-high and comfortably rested in the passenger seat.
Halfway through the journey and I began to remember all the times my mum told me I was going to land myself into huge trouble someday; the moment was finally here. The driver had refused to smile all through the ride. He simply kept humming to Shata Wale’s ‘Ayoo’ and my urge to ask him to play something cool was so faint, I couldn’t even open my mouth to speak.
What kind of driver won’t engage me in a conversation? I thought they all wanted to be rated five stars so the trend was to get all chirpy. This driver was simply different. His spirit of professionalism was so high and uptight. I couldn’t imagine how I’d get to explain to His Royal Majesty that my money wasn’t enough.
One last turn, and I finally saw the gate of our house, then I knew World War III was about to be started by a broke girl who didn’t even know what it took Hitler to stand his grounds many years ago. The air-con became warmer all of a sudden and tears began to gather in my eyes. As he ended the trip, I began searching every nook and cranny of my purse, hoping to see a miracle.
‘Twenty five cedis’, he announced with that unfriendly tone and my jaw almost fell into my lap. It was eighteen cedis when I requested, so I didn’t know why Uber chose the day I was broke to surge the price that high. I stared at the 10-cedi note in my purse, turned my purse over with the hope that Jesus will send a rescue team to her daughter’s aid. Then I spotted the new blouse I’d bought in my bag. The tears in my eyes began to roll down my cheeks; it wasn’t for the misfortune at hand. It was for all the times my mum warned me against impulse buying. I cursed myself for buying what I hadn’t budgeted for, bit my lip for not going to pick trotro; I could have saved some more money and now all I could do was mourn the moment.
I lifted my eyes only to meet the driver’s gaze. He looked down at the 10-cedi note in my palm and turned around. I knew the moment was finally here. The drama was about to go down, but instead, he handed me some tissue to wipe my tears. He smiled and I wondered if there were people aside my mother who smiled when they were about to cause a scene. ‘Let’s just say you owe me, I’ll text you my account number so you can make a deposit for me sometime. You don’t have to cry’, he smiled some more and it was then that I realized he was a handsome man. The initial tension clouded my eyes, I couldn’t see. I returned his smile with a thank you and shamefully dragged myself out of his car.
As I stood there watching him drive away, I knew for certain he wasn’t a Samaritan; he was just an Uber driver with a big heart and a fine face.