I'll never forget what happened on that day. The day had started very well and I thought it was going to be good. It was a Sunday morning. I rose up earlier than usual that morning. The wonderfully bright morning sun could be seen clearly in the far horizon like an angry one-eyed monster.
I went up to my small car park and examined my Nissan Q D 32 Fourteen seat Passenger Service Vehicle. White as snow; it looked as good as new. It was awaiting weekly service. My mechanic had brought the oils, lubricants and spare parts needed for the job. Soon, he showed up with his toolbox; accompanied with a young man who, I suggested, was his spanner boy. After greeting and welcoming them, they did not hesitate to change into their overalls and begin their work.
After around one hour of working on the vehicle, the spanner boy came to me and asked for the vehicle starter key which I gave him. I knew they were due for a road test; which they did and, they came later, saying everything was okay. I paid them their dues, had early lunch and rested for a while before bidding me farewell. I made up my mind to drop them at the Bus Station as a sign of good gesture and appreciation.
One reaching the Bus Station, we found out that there were no other passenger vehicles, and the stranded passengers gushed to my vehicle thinking it was on route. “Wow! What I’m I going to do?” I thought to myself. “There is a little dime I can make here”, I went on. Looking on, I saw my driver and conductor; their body language was communicating the same thoughts as I had.
Soon, we agreed with the passengers to ferry them to a town which was half the distance to where they were traveling to. There, it would be easier for them to get services since it was on the busy highway. The passengers agreed that they would pay a bit more fare than usual to the conductor. I was also aboard the vehicle in the front passenger’s seat.
Within the twinkling of an eye, we were off, happy that we had killed two birds with a single stone. The conductor then, began asking for fares as per their agreement. Reluctantly, the passengers began paying; with some of them grumbling in low tones. I was wondering why, until one passenger; at the backseat broke the silence and tranquility that was prevailing between us in the fully booked vehicle. “Why are we paying so much money? The fare is twice what you are asking for, why?” The rear passenger began. The conductor insisted that it was as per their agreement, but all that hit a deaf ear. The passenger had incited the rest and they were all shouting, threatening and grumbling.
It was when we had reached almost half the distance, that I made up my mind to intervene. I made it clear to them that what the conductor was asking from them was as per their agreement; and I could fully bear witness with that. “So, if you have changed your minds all of you, passengers; all of a sudden, then, we are willing to make a U-turn and take you back to where you have boarded the vehicle; free of charge. We have other business to do!” I concluded. Seeing how determined I was to return and start afresh again, they decided to take the bitter herb; the one they were not previously willing to. Again the inciter at the backseat concluded with a deep, loud roar which made us, especially me, think twice. “You will know who the hell I am when we reach the destination.” He concluded.
We were off and it was about fifteen minutes drive to the destination where we had been promised the unknown. Time moved unusually fast in anticipation, fearing the unknown, but while hoping for the best, we were prepared for the worst. At long last, we reached the destination. Suddenly, the passengers began alighting from the vehicle on stopping and at the same time, stage operators came at the doorway of the vehicle asking if there were passengers heading to other places. As the passengers were alighting, all eyes were on the rear passenger. On reaching the doorway, the conductor politely asked why he did what he had done to almost cause the rest of the passengers not to pay their fares, and that if he didn't have enough fare or non at all; at least he could have told the conductor, in camera, and he would have been helped to even travel free of charge.
At that juncture, one of the stage operators overheard the dialogue and demanded clarification. “Eh, man, what’s going on here! What are you talking about? Anything wrong?” He demanded. The conductor began, in a low tone as if groping for his words, “It is this passenger!” “What about him, tell us now!” The stage operator asked inquisitively. Directly answering, the conductor pointed blankly, “He was refusing to pay his fare!” Wow! The operator turned to the passenger with a slap on the face; another one! Left! Right! Left! Right! “Ooh! Stop them! They are out to harm me! Help, please, help!” The then rear passenger lamented, desperately asking for help from us. By all this time I was still seated with the driver.
I quickly opened the door and dashed to where the struggle was and asked the stage operator to stop it; which he did immediately. “How can you board a vehicle and refuse to pay? Is it your vehicle?” The stage operator posed. “We have to show him, to avoid a repeat of the same next time!” He went on, and struggling to reach the then rude passenger. We turned out to be helping him. By this time, he was panicking. I turned to him and reminded him, “Are you not the one who told us that we shall know who the hell you are when we reach here? Look now! Can we leave these people with you here?” Ooh, no, please! These rough men can even kill me!”
Everybody bust into laughter. The hunter had become the hunted!