‘Gala! Gala! Buy your fresh Gala!’
It was just another day in a long Lagos(Nigeria) traffic where there was no clear reason for the ‘hold-up’ and owners of sophisticated and not too sophisticated cars shared the space on the road. No levels or preferential treatments involved, everyone being united (or sometimes understandably selfish) with the same aim — to get the heck out of the exhausting traffic after a long day at work.
On the other hand, the ‘traffic traders’ have an opposite wish. The longer the traffic, the more their chances of having great sales for the day.
Gala and a cold soft drink + Lagos traffic go together like Starbucks and train stations. So Gala and drink sellers usually go home the most productive in such a day like this.
Lucas hadn’t been as productive as expected all day so he was determined to take full advantage of the traffic.
‘Gala! Gala! Buy your fresh Gala!’ Lucas marketed, with his wide smile trademark.
‘You sure sey e fresh so? Or it’s all packaging?’ Mr Tijani asked.
‘Ah yes sir. Trust your boy. Enough fresh Gala de for the family, sir,’ Lucas replied, as he glanced through Mr. Tijani’s sophisticated Toyota Camry to do a quick calculation of the good money he was about to make.
‘Okay then, bring ten. Only God knows when we would get out of this traffic so two for everyone,’ Mr. Tijani said, as he gestured the peace sign to his family in the car.
As Lucas finished handing them over to him, the traffic suddenly began to evaporate as cars started moving fast. You have to be very sharp in such a moment if you really want to get out of it, so Mr. Tijani collected the ten pieces of Gala and quickly zoomed off before he could pay for them.
Lucas began to chase the Toyota Camry like his life was on the line. He thought Mr Tijani was like the man that played a fast one on him the week before. Almost the same thing happened — the man requested for multiple pieces of Gala and zoomed off (coincidentally, in his Toyota Camry) without paying. Oh, Lucas was ready. With anger and revenge on his mind, he wasn’t thinking straight. He wasn’t even sure if he wanted the money or just wanted Mr. Tijani to pay for the other man’s wicked act. But Mr. Tijani didn’t have such intention, he hoped Lucas would catch up so he could pay him. He even had it in mind to give him a good tip for the stress.
Thankfully, Lucas was able to catch up with the car as another traffic began to develop (for no reason, again — typical Lagos). Still full of anger, the first thing he did as he approached the car was to smash the windscreen of Mr. Tijani’s car with a large stone he picked up along the roadside.
Filled with shock, confusion and anger, Mr. Tijani came out of his car with 2,000 Naira in his hand that he planned to give Lucas. Then he asked, ‘Why on earth did you do this?! Did you think I was going to run away from paying you? See, I even wanted to give you an extra 1, 000 Naira + for the stress you had to go through. Now you are in a very big mess.’
‘I thought you were like the man that ran away from me last week. He was also in a Toyota Camry. I am sorry s — ’ Lucas said, with tears in his eyes.
‘Sorry for yourself! Next time you will calm down. Next time you will give the benefit of doubt and not jump into unnecessary conclusions just because someone hurt you in a similar circumstance in the past. We are all not the same. As for now, you better find a way to get me another windscreen!’ Mr. Tijani said.