Memoirs of a Bolt Guy: A Gentleman’s agreement not fulfilled


By Victor Kwame Sampong

I have known Peter for as long as I’ve been in this business and this is since 2019. We have really been very close friends and allies.

In fact, it was Peter who paid for my first ever Bolt registration and provided the first car I used for the business.

He held my hands during those early stages as my guide and showed me the ropes. He was also widely connected in the transportation circles within Port Harcourt, with an array of clientele that he made available to me on a regular basis.

A year later, we had a small fallout as a result of him withdrawing the car from my possession without prior information and leaving me stranded and with nothing at the time. It was not until I got another car that we re-bonded once again.

We maintained a very good working relationship ever since, mainly because I still see him as my friend and godfather in the business, well until recently.

It seems things may have taken a different turn for us, because my ‘OG’ shortchanged me.

I got a call very early in the week from Peter saying he had a VIP from abroad flying into Port Harcourt that morning and he needed my assistance to pick him from the airport and also take him around the city on a daily basis for four days.

He asked how much I’d take for such a job and I told him thirty thousand naira daily. He angrily ended the call and after a few minutes, called back and tried to explain via a different route.

He said his car was bad, but needed to do the job to raise funds for himself. He would also take my car from me to do the job, and give me seventeen thousand naira each day. I didn’t even bother bargaining again for old times sake.

However, in times past, Peter would have informed the client of his unavailability and pushed me to handle the job, while I send him ‘small thing’ afterwards for the connect.

This format has been our S.O.P. (Standard Operating Procedure) down the years and as a result, we share almost the same sets of clients.

Nevertheless, I let him have my car, believing our gentleman’s agreement would be honoured.

So, for three days, Peter worked with my car, driving his foreign client around the city, but on the fourth day, he didn’t come for the car, which prompted me to call to find out.

His excuse was baffling: “Oga man don carry woman from joint the previous night and as a result, would be too weak to step out. But when he’s ready, him go call me to collect the car.” {The client had a female escort with him the previous night and would be too weak to step out that day}

I didn’t think it was that deep so I let it slide. I called him for over a week afterwards but the young man refused to answer. Three days work totaling ninety thousand naira (like I’d usually charge) or the cut price deal with him that amounts to forty one thousand naira gone, just like that.

Why do bad things happen to good people sef?

Nigerians are funny people, and annoying too
Why don’t Nigerians like paying for services rendered? They just want to use you and your time for free. And when you demand to be compensated, they get angry, agitated or resort to emotional blackmail, to still compel you to yield to their selfish desires.

In the course of this job, I’ve encountered more persons in this category than I can count and it gives me cause for concern.

One of the most annoying sets of riders are those who would book a ride, but instead of going directly to their destination, they first of all want to go shopping and still expect the driver to wait for them. They throw in their usual lines: “don’t end the ride” or “it’s still reading”. Says who?

Don’t book a ride to Garrison, then tell the driver to go through GRA because you want to stop at a supermarket to get a few things. Are you paying for my time sir/ma? Watch their faces change like the weather when it’s about to rain.

The Estimated Time of Arrival (ETA) to your chosen destination is maybe ten minutes and barely three minutes into the trip, I should stop by your favourite fast food joint, so you can spend an extra ten to fifteen minutes of my time. And when I demand to be compensated, you tell me that Adamu who picked you up yesterday didn’t say this, neither did Egbon Sikiru last week. Well, I’m telling you now. You should also know the reasonable thing to do.

Then there are those sets of people, usually on Sundays, who book you to their various worship centres, but want you to take more than the standard number of passengers (4).

They want to fit their whole family into one vehicle and when you decline or demand for extra compensation, they get angry. Why do you want the driver to go out of his way to take in six people, but you can’t get out of your own way to compensate for the inconveniences?

“They’re children, they’re children”…before you know it, you’re having two adults and five kids at the back, while the mother is firmly rooted in the front seat. All these for a five hundred naira ride. No ma…I can’t fit to do it!

Let’s not forget those that would book the ride while taking their bath. You get to the pick up spot, call eleven times and get no response. You wait for another fifteen minutes before they walk out majestically to direct you to come right in front of them before boarding the vehicle. These ones won’t even greet while taking their seat nor apologize for keeping you waiting unnecessarily. Next thing na, “is your AC not working?”

Hmm! We shall continue next week sha. E get wetin I wan go do now now!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *