Emmanuel Christopher is a Bolt driver who works within the city of Abuja. In this interview with Daily Trust, Emmanuel narrates how he returned the sum of $3000 to a passenger who had left her wallet in his car.
How, why and when did you start being a Bolt driver?
I started working as a Bolt driver in 2020. Getting a job had proved difficult and I needed to find a stable means of income to take care of my family so I decided to start driving. Luckily, starting wasn’t so difficult; someone offered me his company car as they do give out cars to those interested in the business. So, that was how I got a car and started the business.
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Take us through the events of that day?
It all began earlier in the day when I got a request to pick a passenger close to Chicken Republic in Wuse 2. After she alighted around NITEL Junction, I drove off immediately. Not long after, I discovered a big purse at the back of my seat. I opened it and saw some foreign currencies, which amounted to $3000, some pounds, three ATM cards (one is foreign) and three international passports.
Immediately, I remembered that the lady was the last person I picked so I quickly rushed back to the place where I dropped her and found her crying. The ATM card had the name Mariam written on it, so I approached her and asked if name was Mariam. Even though I recognized her as the last passenger I carried, I still had to confirm that she was the one and she said yes. So, I asked her to follow me to the car and on getting there I asked her to mention the items in the wallet just to be entirely sure I was returning it to the right owner. She listed everything and it all corresponded with the items in the wallet. I handed the wallet back to her and her crying intensified and she just kept thanking me and praying for me. After that, I drove off.
Before now, have you seen such amount of money before?
Not at all. Never have I set my eyes on such a huge amount of money before. I must be honest, not even in Naira.
What was going through your mind when you found the purse in your car?
What was going through my mind was how to get the owner of the wallet and return it. Even though I heard two voices that kept reminding me of all the things I’m going through. But inside me, I knew I couldn’t take it.
The funny thing is, on that same day, I had lost my wallet containing my ATM cards and my driver’s license and some money. So, the temptation was knocking at the door of my heart and my mind was telling me to just take the money after all I have a lot of debt lying in my house including rent, but another voice said to me ‘no’ and that was the voice I obeyed because I consider myself to be a child of God. I am a Christian, I have conscience and I have a mindset that I will never prosper with stolen money, so I knew I had to return it.
Express the lady’s reaction when you returned the purse?
Honestly, it was just a lot of gratitude from her end. The lady just kept crying hard and was thanking me. She kept saying she was sure she wouldn’t recover the money but seeing me brought her so much relief.
Did the lady appreciate you in any way, monetarily or with a gift afterwards?
No, not at all, she didn’t in any way.
How would you describe the amount of love shown to you since your story broke out?
I must say the love that has been shown to me by people who heard the story has been overwhelming. I always tell people it pays to be a good person. Since that day, people have been calling and praying for me and my family and trust me when I say those prayers mean a lot to me.
If you weren’t able to find her, what was your next action plan?
If I wasn’t able to find the woman at the place, I had dropped her at, I had already decided to go and give the wallet to the Berekete family and they will make the announcement on radio for the owner to come and claim her property.
Nigerians have been sending you little tokens on your honesty. What is the biggest amount you got regarding this incident?
I wish I could reveal in figures but I can’t. However, the biggest gift I received was and is still the prayers of fellow Nigerians which I know by God’s grace He has heard and will answer them.
Can you give us an estimate of your daily income from driving?
In a day, one can make N10,000, some days it will be N7000, it all depends on how many customers and trips I can make in a day.
Did you ever get mocked for returning the purse and what was your reaction?
Yes, I was mocked by some who I had shared the story with and those who had heard from other people, but the peace I had inside of me paid off for me. A question I kept asking myself was; how can I be mocked for returning what does not belong to me? It’s so strange, so I just ignored the mockery because it made no sense to me.
Is this the first time experiencing this incident or have you faced something similar?
No, it wasn’t my first time of experiencing something similar. Some time ago, a passenger had left his phone in my car. I made sure I found a way to locate him and returned his phone to him. He too was very grateful to have recovered his property.
What will be your advice to drivers who may be faced with the same situation?
My advice is not just to the drivers but to all Nigerians and it is to give back what does not belong to you. If you find any item in your car, house, place of work, please try to return it to the owners. Don’t say that it’s an answered prayer, you don’t know what value it may be to the person who lost it. As you return it, your heavenly blessings will be doubled.