I was at a mentor’s office few days ago, a self made man, top notch Electrical Engineer, one of the best in the country.
It’s been a while I saw him, so I decided to check on him and say hi.
To his office I was a regular visitor, so the secretary was like “Uncle Yinka where is my cake? I saw the pictures of the Twins on Facebook.
“I will bring it when next I come. However is egbon around? I asked.
“Yes but he has one visitor,” she replied.
I won’t take his time I just want to tell him I have submitted the proposals he asked me to give one permanent secretary at the secretariat.
I stepped into the inner office and saw him crying and laughing at the same time, a young boy in NYSC uniform was sitting in front of him.
The young man was almost in tears too, wiping his face with his handkerchief..
My mind travelled to different scenarios…
I walked towards him and said..
“Good afternoon Sir”
He was laughing and tears was falling from his eyes really hard.
“Yinka, come, come, come and see who I saw.
Did you do remember the story of Joyce B, that I told you sometimes ago?
Yes I do…
One thing with my mentor was that anyone meeting him for the first time will surely hear the Joyce B story, that name is a popular name, in the story of his life hustle and how he became a rich man.
When he told me the story he said….
Just before the advent of chicken and chips there is aunty Joyce B who fries plantain, yam, potatoes and fish close to University of Lagos second gate in the evenings at Onike.
In those days, students who don’t feel like cooking but want to eat something delicious will go to Joyce B to buy akara and bread and other fried edibles, she will start frying at her spot by 6pm till late in the night. It was in the early nineties, then there was no GSM, to communicate people usually write letters and send it via the post office, few people have land lines in their house, telephone was affordable only by the rich.
My mentor, then a student of the University of Lagos, said before he became a regular customer then at Joyce B spot, he was coming from fellowship one day very hungry, he had some cups of gari in the room but nothing else to add to it, as he was passing by this Akara seller, the aroma called him, but he had no money to buy, transfixed, he stood there watching the woman at work, later she raised her head and saw him, like she knew what he wanted, she just put small balls of fried Akara in a paper wrapped it in a nylon and beckoned on him.
“Student, please take this, I know you are hungry, I do see you passing by going to church sometimes, please take it.” She said.
He said “the hunger in my belly couldn’t let me refuse it”, thereafter, he became a regular customer, if I have money, I will buy when I don’t have, she will give me on credit, whenever am broke, aunty Joyce B will help me out, She did not know me at all, but she took me like her own, she was very kind to me, she will allow me to eat on credit, sometimes lend me money, even give me food stuffs, not that she was wealthy, she was just a kind woman.
She told my mentor that she couldn’t go to school because her father doesn’t believe in training female children, but she wishes that her children should go to school.
She had two children Joyce and John, then Joyce was in primary 6 while John was about two years old.
My Mentor graduated from the Department of Electrical Engineering went on to serve, travelled abroad for further studies, got employment, worked and became over time successful.
He never forgot the kindness of aunty Joyce B.
He said in later years he deliberately went to Onike to look for her, but, she was not at her usual spot….
He couldn’t locate her at her residence, he was told she had relocated to the East after the death of her husband.
Much as he tried to look for her, there was no forwarding address, he tried all he could to find her, but, to no avail. He was dejected that every effort proved abortive.
However, he never forgot her kindness.
I remembered the story because it was a common anthem when I first met him. I have never met aunty Joyce B in person but I know her story.
” Kilode ti e sukun, why are you in tears? I asked him.”
He looked at me and said Yinka if I tell you this is John the little boy who those days at Onike, normally play with sand at his mother’s spot, he just graduated from University of Nigeria. Nsukka.
Pointing to the young man sitting in front of him.
Guess what he studied”
“How did you Know?” He smiled and continued..
“When he walked into my office, I thought I saw a ghost, why?
He is the exact replica of his mother. The only difference is that he is a man.
I said to him instantly your mother is Joyce B, she once lived in Lagos…
I brought out the only picture of his mother that I always carry with me.
His answered was yes. That was the reason I was laughing and crying at the same time when you walked in. I just met him now, now and am doing catch up.
“Yinka, please sit”.
He turned to John and said…
“The last time I saw you then you were playing with sand”
Where is your mother?
“She is late.”
He banged his table so hard
“What killed her?”
“She died of breast cancer few years ago shortly after we relocated to Imo state. Due to the death of our father. John replied.
“Your mother was a good woman…
Part of whatever I become today was due to God, my parents and your mother. I remembered times that I will have nothing to eat, it was your mother who fed me, helped me and sorted me with little change till they sent money to me. During Abacha’s time my parents found it very difficult to make ends meet. It was your mother that lent me the money for my final year project. The same project that got me a scholarship for further studies in America.
I can never forgot your mother’s kindness.
“Are you looking for NYSC placement?”
“No sir, I was posted to a school but the schools are on holiday so I was looking for a firm where I can volunteer without pay and put to use the skills I learnt in school. I will finish service by February next year, but, I have 3days in the week which am free and I intend to use that here.” He replied.
“Well, it’s obvious you already have a job, don”t worry you will not only volunteer but will work with us. Immediately you are ready please resume as a trainee Engineer..”
“Where is your sister Joyce?”
“She is at Ebonyi state she is into palm oil business, it was the proceeds she used in sending me to school.”
Give me her number….
Immediately he called her, introduced himself and put it on speaker..
Hello Joyce this is uncle wale, I use to eat at your mommy’s shop at Onike.
“Can you remember uncle wale”
Uncle wale! Uncle wale? Yes I do, I do sir!
Yes.. I do sir
My mother always talk about you. Where have you been sir?”
I heard the other person screaming out loud at the other end.
“John walked into my office this afternoon, don’t worry he is in good hands..”
I will see to his welfare, your mother was a good woman, I can’t repay her act of kindness but I will try. He just told me now, that she has pass on to the great beyond, may God bless and rest her soul. Amen.
Please send your account number, let me send to you some token. It’s good to hear your voice, please text me your account number, as soon as you drop this call. Please..”
“Yes sir, I will, thank you sir. My mother used to talk about you, how brilliant you were and that God will make a way for you. It’s good to hear from you sir after so many years, haaa uncle Wale..”
“Please text the account number, also save this number and call me anytime you want, if you need anything don’t hesitate to tell me, please,” he requested again.
I will, I will… Thank you sir then she ended the call.
“John, please go and give the secretary your documents tell her to take you to the Human Resources for all documentation. I will take it up from there.
He turned to me and said
” Yinka! doing good will last, doing evil will last, it is only the creator that knows the human that will live long.
A simple act of kindness has the power to transform the world. Over twenty years ago her mother was good to me and I couldn’t repay her kindness, she wasn’t even expecting me to repay her, she was just a good person.
Yinka, do good to people no matter what, you don’t know where you will meet your helpers in life, if not because of yourself, do it for your children, you can never know or say where they are going.
Remember no act of kindness is lost, if you don’t gain it, just remember your children.
Do good to people.”
God has blessed me so much, by the time he finished service, he would have gathered enough experience, here, I will sponsor his Masters program to any university, anywhere in this world, except he doesn’t want to go. That is my plan for him.
That is my plan and trust me I will execute it by God’s grace.”
For now I will start with a salary of graduate trainee for him.
When we were through with our discussion, I returned to the car and something struck me, Some people have made head start in life not because they are the best or the most brilliant, simply doors of favour was opened to them by the kind deeds of their parents in the past.
John’s path in life has become clearer and blessed just because of his late mother’s kindness.
As a graduate trainee in my mentor’s firm his salary is in six figures, how many of his mates will have such opportunity. A mother’s kindness is paving way for her son after twenty years.
Therefore as you go on in life never judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the kind seeds you plant. You don’t know who will eat the good fruit.
Be kind, it’s pays..
Written by ©️ Abiola Yincarr