Memoirs of a Bolt Guy: Black Monday and a suicide plan


Victor Kwame Sampong

I can’t remember having a trip that filled me with so much sadness and grief like the one I had on Monday afternoon.
Immediately I swiped to end a trip at the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital, I got another one within the premises, so much to my delight. This was because, I did not have to drive for minutes to the pick-up spot like I did with the just concluded trip.
Two young men got into the backseat and when I asked to confirm their destination, I could tell all was not well, from the tone of the response.
The light skinned one on the right, in the company of his friend, were at the morgue to see the corpse of his wife who recently just passed on. What even broke me the more was when the friend asked him if his child asks after his mom. It took a while for the reply to come forth and it was sad.
The young man was confused as to how he would go ahead with not just her burial arrangements, but life with a young boy who would constantly be asking about his mom. The boy turned five a week earlier, while his mom kicked the bucket four days later, three days before we crossed paths at UPTH.
The friend alighted at Rumuokoro as we turned onto the Rumuodomaya axis. It was at that point that I summoned enough courage to express my heartfelt condolences to my client. That gesture opened up the man further as truly he needed someone to be by his side to talk and pour out his heart to.
He took my number and promised to call in a few days if and when he decides to go to his late wife’s place to discuss burial arrangements. She was from the state that prides itself as ‘The Glory of All Lands’.
Some details in the man’s tales kind of hit so close to home, for those wey sabi me reach house {For those who know me very well}. Well, I just couldn’t proceed with further activities after I dropped him off. This was partly due to his plight and also, because it was almost at the point (3pm-8pm) I take a break to skip the traffic rush in the city.
The suicide case
It has been weeks since the commencement of works on the last two flyovers of the Governor Nyesom Wike’s tenure in Rivers State, but residents and motorists are yet to come to terms with the excess traffic situations along the Psychiatric Road. Plying that route in the morning and by close of work in the evening could be very draining mentally and physically.
Now, imagine my plight when after going almost halfway through heavy traffic, I received an order from a very popular hotel close to the Rumuigbo Junction. After calling to confirm the pick-up point, I reluctantly reversed to get him.
Despite what I went through getting there, the client still wasted more than ten minutes before he emerged with another person to board. The second person didn’t enter, they bade each other farewell and we left.
We came out of the street and joined the growing traffic on the Psychiatric Road once again and had barely gotten beyond the second fuel station on that road from the junction before my client started sobbing bitterly. I was taken aback.
He looked slightly older than me and he seemed more mature too. His eyes were bloodshot. He was trying to speak, but the tears overshadowed his voice.
It was that point I knew I had to step in, so I asked him what could be the issue that would make a grown man cry. As I spoke, I used one hand to rub his back and thigh as I tried to console him.
It was at that point that he finally broke his own silence. Richard said he was depressed and sad and as it stood, suicide was amongst the few actions he could take to end it all.
I was taken aback. I have never thought of what it looked like to be suicidal, or how depressed one could be for suicide to be an option, but here we were. I was actually in the same car with a fellow who was thinking of taking his life.
He told me how he could not go on with life anymore and felt ending it would be a better option for him. The thing is, tried as hard as I could, he never told me what was causing his depression. He just went on and on at how hard life was and how there was no need going on with it. He said these amid tears flowing freely from his eyes.
I got confused and scared at the same time, then in my confused state, I had to ask him if I could take the issue to Social Media. I made a post on Twitter and Facebook seeking for immediate advice.
The first response I got asked me to take him to a hospital, but how do I do that against his will. I continued to search both platforms for reasonable answers but none came.
So, I took him to his first destination which was a private Primary School at Rumuadaolu community. Unfortunately, Richard didn’t see who he came for, and we could not wait because the security guard told him she was not around.
He begged me to take him to his final destination.
When we got there, I ended the ride, he paid and then started walking towards the eatery at Sani Abacha Road junction, except that this time, he looked more distraught and disoriented.
After I dropped him, I checked notifications from both social media platforms and saw people requesting for his contact. Some wanted more details and I did as I could.
I gave out his number for people to reach out to him and see if they could possibly dissuade him from carrying out his intention.
As at the time of writing this, I still hadn’t been able to get through to him, same as many other people who wanted to help in their own little way
Let’s just hope that Richard is safe. I’ll keep trying his line and hopefully he should be better by the time I see him again, if I do.

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