By Adebiyi Demola
Gosh! It was almost 7:30am. I rushed out of the bedroom, picked up a kettle, performed ablution and prayed to the God. Only God knows if the prayer was even answered or not because I couldn’t concentrate on it. I rushed from there to the bathroom; I took my bath, brushed my teeth and dressed up for work. I marched out like a soldier going for war. I got to the street where I could get a bus to my place of work very fast but it was quiet unfortunate that I couldn’t get a bus on time and it was around 8:30am. I started murmuring when I saw a bus coming. “Station road”, I said to the driver. “maa bo”. Which means “come”, the driver replied, is forty naira sir. The driver said and I frowned at him, but didn’t alter a word. I got to where to drop, gave him forty naira and alighted peacefully. I trekked a little bit and got to the office. It was already 8:50am.
“You are a bit late today”, said Mrs. Ola. “Yes ma”. I replied.
It was not less than a minute that I took my sit when Mrs. Akin entered and greeted everyone on seat and came directly to me. She was one of my bosses at the office before she was been posted to another department. “You will see an alert very soon. Granma is coming for clinic today and the money will be needed to take care of her”. She said. “Ok ma”. I replied. That was not the first time of cashing fund through my Bank account. It was so, because his uncle that does send the money could only locate that bank around him. After two minutes when she had left, I heard a message sound on my phone. I picked it and checked the message. Mtcheeew! It was an unsolicited text message from my service provider. I hissed and threw the phone on the table with anger.
“Afeez, please come”, said Mr. Ayan. He was also one of my bosses like Mrs. Akin. He counted eighty thousand naira and handed it to me, with a paper that had an account number, account name and the name of the bank. “Drop it into that Bank account”, he said. “Alright sir”, I replied.
Since Oxford Bank is not too far from Global bank I was sent to initially, I decided to take my ATM card along incase the money drop into my account. I checked my wallet for the card but couldn’t find it. I searched my bag and everywhere I thought of, but I couldn’t find it. I decided to zoom off to the Oxford bank. On my way to the bank, I started tasking my brain where I put the card and the answer appeared to me as if I am a NTA news-caster who reads on the screen. Oh, yah! It was in the pocket of a pair trouser I hung in my wardrobe. I smiled. I continued with the trek when I heard a deep voice from my back.
I looked at the back and it was a huge dark guy with tinted hair.
“Chairman, could you show me the way to Ajegunle”? He asked me. “Just go straight by your left and ask when you get to the next junction”, I replied. I left the spot and moved to Oxford bank. On getting there, I picked up a deposit slip and dug my right hand in my pocket to obtain my pen and the fund in order to fill the denomination as arranged in the slip. Where did I put it now? I searched my pockets thoroughly but couldn’t see the money given to me. I started sweating despite the fact that the air conditioners were on. My mind was seriously disturbed and the heart started pounding like a locomotive machine. What could have happened? Has the guy I answered taken the money from me? I was lost on this thought when I heard my phone ringing. I looked at the screen and it was Mr.Ayan. Should I pick it or neglect it? What would I tell him if I pick it? Did I even know why he is calling? I started asking myself those rhetorical questions while I lost the first call. It started ringing again; I summoned courage to pick it. “Hel hel hel”. I started stammering while he took up from me. “Hello Afeez”. You have left the money in the office. Why? He lamented. I couldn’t belief what I’ve just heard and I nearly told him to recap. “I’ve been looking for it here sir”. I replied with grateful heart and quickly left the bank for office; I collected the money and got back to the bank within a blink of an eye. I entered the details and joined the queue.
It remained only four persons before me when my phone beeped. I neglected the message thinking it was the same usual unsolicited text message from 5052 again. After some seconds, my phone started ringing. I looked at the screen and it was Mrs. Akin. I picked the call. “Hello Afeez, where are you”. She asked. “Oxford bank ma”, I replied.
“Have you seen the alert?” I was called just now that the money has been sent into your account, she said.
“Yes ma”, I replied. “Would you cash it while coming back to office?” She asked. “Definitely,” I replied.
Then, it was my turn. I gave the money and slip to the cashier, to perform his professional duty, he did so and returned a copy of the slip to me. “Thank you for banking with us”. He said and I left the queue.
I took out my phone to confirm what Mrs.Akin said and it was true. I need to go back home for my ATM card. I said to myself and I rushed out of the bank. On a normal occasion, it will take me like fifteen minutes to reach St. David grammar School where I normally drop before trekking to my final destination and since I had no alternative, I stopped a cab. “St. David”, I said. “Enter. It’s forty naira o”. He said. “No problem”, I replied.
Some kilometers to the St. David, we ran into a stupid hold-up which got me annoyed. I felt like dropping from the bus and continued with my legs. While thinking of that, I heard the sound of siren of a Black Maria from the back and before I knew it, the way was freed and that gave my cab the chance of taking me the St. David. This is a public secondary School with fence and two gates at the entrance, but since the fence had collapsed at the back, it has created avenue for people’s passage. But I ran out of luck on this very day just because when I alighted from the cab, I discovered that the gate had been padlocked due to some reasons unknown to me. I need to cover a great distance through another route before I could reach home. I said to myself and I didn’t know when I picked a race. I got home within a short period of time. “Hope no problem?” My sister asked curiously. “No ma”. I came for my ATM, I explained. “Alright”, she said. I went directly to where I put the trouser, took out both ATM and School ID card and put them in my back pocket and rushed out again. It was around quarter to two. I took another race back to the street where to get a cab but decided not to take bus. I took bike instead. Thank God I didn’t take bus, because there was another hectic traffic jam but my bike scaled through easily. I was fortunate when I got to Global bank because people were very scanty at the ATM machine stand and there was another free machine. I went straight to it, took out my ATM card and inserted it. I was waiting for it to be ready so as to input my pin but all I could get on the screen was “hardware error” and the card was rejected.
I took the card, cleaned it and made another trial, but the problem persisted. I wanted to go to customer care immediately but a thought came over me to try another machine, which of course I did. “Usage App Error” was the new message I got from another machine I used. Since I have satisfied my conscience, then I decided to go the customer care. I left the ATM stand and went directly into the bank. I thought I was in a market because everywhere was just jam-packed. Though, those that wanted to withdraw and those that wanted to deposit were on a long zigzag queue but the story was not the same with those at the customer care section, it was just like the movement of gaseous particles in a container colliding with one another and with the wall of the container that occurs in a chemical reaction, and since there was no order at the place, I had the opportunity of tendering my case to an attendant, “Ma, I was trying to withdraw through the ATM machine but was not successful”, I complained.
“What was the message you got from the machine?” She asked.
“Usage App Error”, I replied.
“Your English is not correct”, she said.
“What an embarrassment! How do you mean?” I responded furiously.
“I didn’t mean to rude to you but only trying to explain to you that the machine could not give out such message. So, you will need to recheck so as to know the problem to work on”, she explained.
I raised above the taunt and remained unruffled. I went back to the ATM stand, inserted the card. The same message appeared on the screen and I snapped the information with my phone as evidence. I went back to her and showed her. She started looking at the message like a primary four student given WAEC question to solve. After some minutes, she asked me to write a report which I did with tick and gave it to her. She dragged the keyboard of the system on the table towards her and checked my account details. She looked at my face, and then faced one of her colleagues. “Shola, what could make machine write this while the account is not fixed?” she showed him my report. So, you didn’t have the knowledge? No wonder you claimed the English was not correct I nearly said when Shola gave response to her question.
“It has damaged”. He said.”
What could have damaged this neat card?” I asked.
“Maybe you packed it with a phone”, he replied.
“I have never put the two together because I know the implication”, I responded.
The guy refused to say anything again and started punching the keyboard of the computer in front of him. Look at this stupid boy using me to press keyboard I almost said when I heard my phone ringing. It was Mrs. Akin. I picked it up and explained the situation on ground to her and dropped the call. I couldn’t tolerate the guy’s ego, so I decided to go and face my first attendant, “Ma, what is the next line of action to seek redress?” I asked.
“You will need to apply for another ATM and one thousand naira will be charged from your account”, she replied.
I stood at akimbo thinking of the next line of action to take when my phone started ringing again. I looked at the screen and it was her again, Mrs. Akin. I picked it up and I was about to say ‘hello’ when someone held my hand from the back.
…to be continued
The next episode will be posted this evening