A tricycle rider that can’t pay his kid’s school fees but returns N0.5m forgotten in his tricycle by passenger going to ECWA headquarters in Bauchi.
The man resisted the temptation pocketing N582, 450 forgotten in his commercial tricycle despite being badly in need of cash. It wasn’t the first time.
At the time 43-year-old Bashir Usman discovered N582, 450 forgotten by one of his passengers in his tricycle, he didn’t have N500 of his own.
With three children chased out of school for not paying their fees, a lingering house rent and the nagging thought of how to provide health care for his pregnant wife, Bashir, a Keke NAPEP rider, had battled his conscience and eventually won against the seductive whisper of claiming the money as “manna from heaven.”
Instead, with the help of his wife’s promptings and encouragement he searched for the owner and returned the money which had been carefully concealed in a handbag and left in the backseat of the tricycle he rode Saturday evening of November 4.
His first passenger that evening had been a woman he later came to know as Mama Ejimeh. The woman whose full name is Kelechi Ehandiba is a widow and mother of two who sells household items at Butcher Line around the Terminus area in Jos.
Mama Ejimeh and her friend had chartered Bashir’s tricycle to ECWA Headquarters but he mistakenly took them to COCIN headquarters, not far from their intended destination. Unfortunately, not knowing the place either, Mama Ejimeh had alighted from the vehicle, crossed to the other side of the road to make enquiries on the venue of a wedding they were attending but unknown to her, her friend had paid off Bashir and picked the gift item they had bought, leaving Mama Ejimeh’s hand bag behind. “By the time I came back and I didn’t see the Keke man, my friend said she had already paid him. I asked her about my bag but she said she only took the gifts for the couple,” Mama Ejimeh said.
The two women immediately waved another tricycle and chased after Bashir but lost him at an intersection. “We first took the road to Tudun Wada, we didn’t see him. We went around ECWA headquarters without success. I was mad. I was crying because the money belonged to my supplier and I didn’t know how to explain to him that my bag was left inside Keke,” she narrated.
Bashir who lives in Naraguta village didn’t notice anything amiss and had further offered his services to other passengers, the last being a group of students he took to an off campus apartment around Bauchi ring road without realising a bag had been left on his passenger seat.
“I only realized that one of my passengers had left a bag my around 7pm. After my prayers at a mosque I returned to Ring Road on the assumption that the students who were the last set of people were the owners of the bag.”
But the students denied ownership of the bag and advised him to check the content for any form of Identification. “We didn’t see any at that time. All we saw was raw beef in a polythene bag, some change in the purse and cake,” he said.
“From there, I went home and after dinner with my wife, I told her to boil the meat since we didn’t have refrigerator and later asked her to check the bag again for any form of ID. That was when we noticed a phone but the battery was dead and there was no Sim card. We also noticed an ID card but the address faded. As we further searched the bag, we found a hidden zip and my wife brought out money which we found to be N80, 000 wrapped inside a black polythene, then there was N350, 000 inside another polythene; and then N150, 000 inside another. Inside her purse we saw N3, 450 and all together the money amounted to N582, 450.”
Bashir explained that when he saw the money he was shocked stressing that all he had of his own was N470.
He said his children had been sent out of school for fees and owed almost two years rent. Besides, his wife was pregnant and didn’t have money to provide her proper care or buy clothes for the baby.
However, after a night of indecision, Bashir said he remembered a Hadith of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) that instructs Muslims not to benefit from the toil of another person and that strengthened his resolve to search for the first passenger who boarded his tricycle.
“The next morning which was Sunday, I went to give account to the owner of the keke. Upon my return home, my wife asked if I had found the owner of the bag and I assured her I would go in search of the woman on Monday but she was skeptical and kept telling me to fear Allah and find the owner of the bag. She strengthened my faith,” he said.
On Monday morning, he returned to Butcher Line and asked if anyone had heard stories of a woman who left a bag in a tricycle. “A man pushing wheelbarrow described her shop to me and when I went there I met her sales boy who called her on phone and she rushed to the shop to meet me.”
Mama Ejimeh and her friend had returned to Butcher Line on Sunday in search of Bashir and later reported the incident to the market union chairman who advised her to make radio announcements.
On Monday, Mama Ejimeh and her friend boarded another tricycle to a radio station but said; “As we were about to pay him off, my sales boy called to say the Keke man had returned the bag. Out of confusion, I disconnected the line, dialed the number back and gave my friend to speak.
“I didn’t know whether I was dreaming and when we rushed back to the shop, I met him with our union chairman, I immediately hugged him and said God bless you.”
Bashir said Mama Ejimeh, the market union and some individuals in the market contributed about N27, 000 for him, adding “She also gave me a bag of rice, cartoon of spaghetti, semovita, milk, milo and toilet soaps. I told her I had boiled her meat and would bring it the next day but she laughed and told me to keep it.”
It was not the first time Bashir returned forgotten items to their owners. “The first was a phone left behind by a male passenger, then one woman also forgot her yam tubers and a purse with some money but I returned all to their owners,” he said.
(Ecwa Nationwide Gist)