It was my early days as a teen in the small township of Nsawam in the Eastern Region.
My mum could barely raise my school fees let alone provide enough for food and the little luxuries school children deserve.
, but I was determined to make the best out of life. The only alternative for me to get a nice shoe( not the Odamu a ob3nyin type which is twice your foot size in order to accommodate you for the next five years!) , or the latest Casio watch or “brick game”was to save almost all my daily chop money or sometimes walk to school ( the journey was circa 14km).
I had not had the privilege of sitting in a taxi yet, and didn’t have much to say among my friends when they were sharing their taxi experience. My transportation memories were a mixed bag of tro- tro and walking.
I was determined to also have my fair share of the taxi experience, so after saving my “pocket money”for a couple of days, I had enough to jump on a taxi.
I walked past the tro tro station that fateful Monday morning, in my neatly “box iron pressed” school uniform, to the surprise of the tro tro mate, straight to the taxi rank. I made myself comfortable in the front passenger seat, my height was just enough to see beyond a few inches above the dashboard. Soon the taxi was full and we set off towards our destination.
Halfway during the journey, a huge market woman standing by the roadside with the sagging fleshy arms comparable to the width of the trunk of a mahogany tree signaled for the driver to stop. I was confused when the driver obliged, wondering where the woman was going to sit, because to the best of my knowledge, the car capacity of a maximum of five had clearly been written by the side of the the car.
I was even more scandalized when the taxi driver said in an authoritative baritone voice that “ school boy, get down and let your aunt sit at the front, so that you can sit on her laps”
I suddenly choked in my throat trying very hard not to be disrespectful , knowing very well that when I am angry, the things I say do not always complement my calm demeanor, after some few seconds, I managed to put my self together and asked him “WHY?”. The driver was taken aback by my question and replied angrily “ because she is older than you and you must learn to respect your elders” I then asked “ in that case am I going to pay for my taxi fare if I decide to sit on this woman’s laps?” . He replied “ of course you will pay the full amount!” at this point I was losing it and the admonishing of the book of Ephesians regarding respecting the elderly was almost fading in my memory”.
Anyway I managed to calm myself down and retorted “ Mr. Taxi driver, I will not sit on any person’s laps. I am paying the full amount for my seat and I will fully enjoy what I have paid for. If you still insist on picking the market woman, I am happy to get down and pick another taxi , but I won’t pay a dime ! That said I looked straight into the eyes of the taxi driver with all the nodes of frowning I could gather to express my utter disdain” . I could realize he was doing a quick mental calculation in his bully brain- he arrived at the fact that losing half of his fare won’t be a great idea, so he decided to rescind on his decision to pick the ,market woman.
With sanity resorted, he moved his gears and we continued the journey. The rest of journey was marred with his long array of nagging about how the children of nowadays do not respect and a whole lot of bull shit spewing from his uneducated mouth.
I ignored all these and had to even endure the bad mouth odor that accompanied his rants.
When we finally arrived at the station, I opened the door, got down, pulled the carefully stashed cedi notes, handed it to the driver and walked off with a swag akin to a Hollywood celebrity. Another passenger who was sitting at the back of the taxi winked at me and gave me thumbs up. She said to me” school boy, enooaaa Nono, driver Kwame y3 sisifor koraa dodo” literally meaning I am glad you stood against this cheat of a driver.
The lesson here is that in life, sometimes people will try to deny you of what is yours, even when you pay your dues in full.
Don’t allow anybody to take you for a ride.
Pay your dues and go for what is due you… unapologetically.
After all you deserve some accolades 😊😊😊😊
All the best!
From the desk of ROL