Memoirs of a Bolt Guy: How to die a thousand deaths

By Victor Kwame Sampong

I came back from suspension with a big bang, but in less than two days, I was on the verge of another one. I was battling with Bolt via in-app messages back and forth, trying to prove my innocence on another case.

I tried to go online unsuccessfully on Thursday, then I saw a message displayed that I should contact support instead. When I did, there was an allegation against me by a rider, a female. She claimed I tried to harm her by intentionally locking her in the car with a damaged door handle. This one weak me. Immediately, my mind went back to who might have gotten me into this mess.

E no go pass Chiamaka o. Na she. I had picked her up from Trans Amadi that fateful day, and from the sound of her voice on the phone, I should have sensed trouble, but I chose to ignore it.

As she entered, she complained about the AC not being cool enough from where she was sitting at the back. I encouraged her to relax as she only just got in. I also suggested that she could come to the front seat if it’s really uncomfortable at the back. She kept murmuring and all. I guess not replying to her infuriated her the more.

She asked that I let her stop by the Supermarket to get one or two things. I told her point blank that she’ll have to pay for whatever time she might spend while inside because I can’t let her waste my time without adequate compensation. She insisted that with the ride on, it’ll reflect; a claim I refused and told her it’s either I end the ride at the supermarket so she can get another driver after her shopping spree or we proceed to her destination as indicated on the app. Madam, at this point, began another chapter of lamentations.

I finally got to her destination. She wanted to open the door from the inside but it couldn’t open. I was surprised at the outcome because my door handles are in excellent condition. I had to step out to her side of the car and opened it from outside. As I checked, the ‘Child Lock’ on the door was switched on. I didn’t know, but Chiamaka kept insulting on me that it’s always been our (Bolt Drivers) ploy to kidnap and rob riders.

Now, that got me pissed. I lost my cool and said some unpleasant things to get back at her. Calling me a criminal is unacceptable. After she paid me and left with so much pain from my words, I sat down to recollect what really happened to the door.

After each ride or two, I use my car brush and rag to dust the seats and the mats, clean dust off the doors to make the car neat for the next person. Unfortunately, I might have pushed the switch for the ‘Child Lock’ on, while cleaning. But, does this warrant the unjustifiable names Chiamaka called me?

Well, I managed to prove to the company that my door handles were not broken nor faulty and my AC was in top shape by going for another round of inspection at their approved centre. That’s how I was able to get back on the road.

How to die a thousand deaths

During the week, I had a very harrowing experience. I think it qualifies to be termed a close shave with death.

I was at Akpajo Junction waiting for a ride that would send me back into town. I just couldn’t risk driving back empty with fuel at N600 per litre. I was almost giving up when the phone beeped, with the destination indicated a long distance. I smiled and made the call. I got to where Sandy was and she didn’t waste any time to get in.

Three minutes into the ride and I was already uncomfortable. The kind body odour that engulfed the car ehn….it was as if I was moving with a walking corpse. Let me just put it this way…the girl dey smell real bad. I know how disrespectful and demeaning this might sound, but there are no better adjectives to just describe this.

By the time i got to Ordinance Road, I felt like throwing up…no jokes. I took time to check the amount on the passenger app before moving, so that was the only comfort for me. However, I started questioning myself, if losing my life over a few thousand was worth it. If I don’t die, how about some serious lung problems in the future, because of the sort of air I was inhaling at close contact?

My windows were already down and I was flying, but I felt like we could do better by removing the doors so that breeze go fit blow everywhere inside the car.

We got to the Airforce flyover and she remembered something at the back seat, so she stretched behind to get it. I no know wetin make me follow look as she dey put hand for back sef. But brethren, the stench that hit me almost knocked me out. What oozed out from her armpit gave me instant migraines…no be headache o (headache na the mild one na).

I remembered my friends and family and you my wonderful readers and how all of you would miss me if I should give up. That’s how I drew inspiration to finish the trip that ended in one hotel off Airport Road. She sef dey go see man like this o. Omoh…my gender dey try sha.

I posted this gist in one of our WhatsApp groups shortly after. That same day, later in the evening, one of the drivers replied to my message that he thinks he might have picked up the same girl I was talking about. Such a coincidence right? I didn’t want to leave anything to chance. So I called him and he described her to me. Lo and behold, na the same girl! In fact, he said it was worse than I had described.

I consoled him and motivated him to survive like I did. We’re strong men and built to withstand such setbacks.

Nonetheless, I’m seeing my doctor by the weekend. I’m not taking that chance.

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