Chronicles From The Streets · Musings

A ‘Moment’ On The Bus

Remember how I went on and on in recent posts about wanting to become more present and all that? Well, I have begun to take my own advice and I’m seeing things I seem to have always overlooked.

I’m not referring to moments of epiphany. Not at all.

These are moments that have always been right there and while I might have witnessed them, the moments never made an impression on me.

Anyway, there are two particular moments which made a significant impression on me recently and I would like to share.

Hopefully, sharing these stories would encourage you to endeavour to live present, observe and maybe learn lessons and lend a helping hand when necessary.

I’ll share one now and the other in the next post.

While on the bus on my way home, I witnessed the first moment.

So there I was seated with earphones in my ears listening to music at a good volume that would make it near impossible to hear if the person next to me wanted to initiate conversation but that would also make me hear the conductor’s voice clearly.


Bus fare is ₦150 for sitting and ₦100 for standing and the bus conductors usually refuse to allow people stand while there are still vacant seats.

I was waiting patiently for the bus to fill up so we could leave when this woman came in, I noticed her because I heard the conductor shouting at her and that drew my attention.

She came in while there were still a few vacant seats left on the bus but she wanted to stand, the conductor completely refused and remained unmoved while she begged. She didn’t beg for long before she reluctantly took a seat across the aisle from me.

As we moved on, more people came in and all the vacant seats got filled. That was when I saw this woman jump up to offer her seat to one of the people standing. She then went to seat in a very uncomfortable place which was clearly not meant for people to sit.

After a while, she found a more comfortable spot (still not a chair) and moved over.

I sat there wondering, all this to save ₦50?


Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a wealthy Nigerian but I never really considered just how well off I am compared to some other people. I would never enter a bus to stand except I had absolutely no other choice but here was this middle-aged woman doing all she could to save ₦50!

She wasn’t the only one, there was a young girl sitted next to me who also got up when the bus filled up. I briefly considered paying the ₦50 for her but then when I saw her and her sister perch comfortably in a spot not meant for sitting, I began to wonder just how much she would appreciate that. Would she prefer I give her that money so she could use it for something else?

As I continued to watch them, I realised they were actually winning. They might not have had the most comfortable spot on the bus but they were young and didn’t mind perching and they were saving some money, ₦100 between them.

So then, if I offered to pay the difference for her, would I actually be helping her or wasting money?

I don’t know if you get me but it was a real dilemma. I finally went with not paying, not because I didn’t have the money but because I realised that sometimes, our way isn’t the best.

What I consider comfortable might be plain excessive luxury to someone else.

Oh and I was blessed to hear happy, chatty girls throughout the trip.

While I learnt the importance of being present, I also learnt something about the different values different people place on money and I also learnt that sometimes, that’s fine.

I would love to hear from you! How have you been deliberately present recently? What would you have done if it had been you in my place on that bus?

©Oreoluwa Matemilola 2018 All Rights Reserved


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