Memoirs of a Bolt Guy: Night Calls and the towel thief

By Victor Kwame Sampong

I ordinarily do not mind taking late-night calls on the job, as I have had to drive out at midnight to go pick up a client’s girlfriend at the airport about two months back.

I have also responded to distress calls from friends and clients at ungodly hours. But, this particular call from Rick triggered me a bit and maybe it was in my best interest that I ignored it. It could have been harmless, but it could have been harmful too. Either way, I didn’t proceed to find out. However, here’s why my fears were valid.

I got to Alakahia in high spirits on Sunday afternoon, hoping to get a worthy ride elsewhere. Both of my rider apps were active and it wasn’t long till one came through on Uber, and it was a long ride from all indications. I beamed with a smile and proceeded to call the client.

But what I saw on my screens shook me a bit. Truecaller displayed the name, ‘Fake Alert’ and you’ll agree with me that was suspicious. I ended the call before he could pick up. I contemplated for a few seconds on whether to proceed or back out. In the end, I chose the former. Maybe because of some insane desire to catch the thief that stole my new phone right in my car sometime last year. Of course, I was not going to catch that thief, but anybody caught trying to scam me would be treated like that client who had the boldness to steal my phone right in my car as I dropped him off.

So, I called back and Rick picked, up and then directed me to his pick-up point. I was very careful as I made my way there because the place he directed me to was a dead end with just two houses or so in it, and bushes around. So, I stopped by the entrance to the close to call him to come out first. After about three calls without a response, I cancelled the ride and went my way.

The truth is there have been lots of cases of Bolt drivers robbed, killed and cars snatched in recent times, so I had to be careful.

As I dey reach First Mechanic Junction, on my way out of Alakahia, the same person booked again, on the same platform, which was a bit strange, unless of cause, I was the only active driver in the locality.

Nevertheless, I accepted the ride, and he called back and apologized for keeping me waiting unnecessarily. I told him to walk out to a considerable distance, because I wasn’t going to drive that far again to pick him up, he agreed, with ease.

I got to where we both agreed and picked him up. A young man, thick set and with locks on his head. I knew if push ever comes to shove, I wouldn’t need help to take this one down alone. In two seconds, I go deck am, use him dreads scrub the floor like a mop stick.

First off, I told him we gotta renegotiate the fee to Oyigbo because it was way below my estimation. Then he told me he’ll need to stop by a boutique by Alakahia Junction to pick up a few items. Extra fees were added to the already agreed sum. We picked up the clothes and continued to Oyigbo.

It was broad daylight so I wasn’t expecting anything funny to happen anyway. However, I didn’t want to be caught unawares. So I did my best to eavesdrop on the few calls he made and the messages being sent on WhatsApp. Luckily for both of us, we arrived at Oyigbo Junction safely with successful financial transactions on both ends. I even sent the funds to a second account just to confirm they were real.

I got another ride about ten minutes later and left.

Later that night, at almost midnight or thereabout, I got a call from the same person, the displayed name once again,”Fake Alert”.

I was already asleep. He identified himself and I asked wetin make him dey call me for by this time.

Rick said he needed me to pick up some of his guys who were stranded and bring them to his end at Oyigbo. I told him I couldn’t because I’d shut down for the day, my gates are locked and so on. But what followed aroused my suspicions further.

He began to beg unnecessarily, that he needed me to do it personally because he somehow trusted me. Person wey I just meet o. The more I declined, the more he gave more reasons to convince me, all flimsy. I just cut the call for the third time and blocked the number for good.

I was not going to be unfortunate and fall prey to these people.

The towel thief

Wednesday was so much fun, as it was everything Tuesday should have been but was not.

While in the thick of Wednesday’s business, one of my favorite clients called that I should come to pick him up from his hotel and back to his house. Without thinking twice, I dashed to Helliconia Park along Eastern Bypass, and in less than five minutes, he was already out.

I helped with his stuff and as we were about to drive away, the receptionist asked the security to stop us. Me sef shock. Wetin dey happen?

I reversed to the small car park in front of the hotel reception. We asked why she called us back. She said two (not one) of the face towels in my client’s room were missing after a routine inspection. So she had no choice but to search his bags. See embarrassment na.

They say a clear conscience fears no accusation. So I popped open the booth and she proceeded with her search… thoroughly, but nothing burst out.

So, she asked about his female companion who had spent the night with him but left early in the morning. After much back and forth, he put a call through and placed it on loudspeaker, so as to clear the lady’s doubts. It was a grave mistake we both came to regret later on.

The silly girl admitted to taking the towels with a flimsy excuse that she must have mixed them up with her stuff while packing. She said she only noticed them when she got back home!

My guy wan mad. He managed to maintain his cool, as we both walked back into the reception desk. He was asked to pay N10,000 to offset the cost. He did and we left. As I dropped him off, he sent me back to the girl’s house to retrieve the stolen items. When I got there, the yeye girl shamefully gave them to me. Both towels had the logo and name of the hotel boldly emblazoned on them. Chai!

I returned them to my client and he threw them into his waste bin and warned her never to come near him again! This one pass stern warning o. He blocked her number and deleted it immediately.

I got paid and left, shaking my head in disbelief.

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