Surprising Nigerian N95 Honesty
Oh My God – WHERE IS MY PHONE!!! This is the thought that races through my mind and sends a chill through my heart as I frankly search my person for my Nokia N95. I am standing over my seat, as I put away my luggage on Kenya Airways Flight 0533, from Lagos to Nairobi, and I’ve just realized my phone is missing.
Again I recheck my person and my luggage and then it hits me – I’ve left my phone in the airport waiting area. I was so absorbed in composing emails to all my Kenyan contacts, letting them know of my impeding arrival, that I didn’t hear the first call for my flight.
When I finally did, I scrambled to the jetway, leaving my prized possession, my per-diem-paid-for N95 superphone behind, alone and vulnerable on a random seat. Where I now realize it must be sitting, just waiting to be found by its new owner.
GO! This is my only thought as I run off the plane, up the jetway, and back towards the airport lobby so fast I only shout “My phone!!” over my shoulder at flight attendants, ground staff, and armed guards. I am running so fast, that I don’t stop to walk in between seat rows, I run over the tops of them towards my phone’s last location.
As I close in, I realize I need to open up. All around me are shouts of “upstairs”, with fingers pointing to the second floor balcony. That’s when it dawns on me that my phone was found, and miraculously reported at lost. Yes, in Nigeria, home of the 419 scam, Nigerians, known as the swindlers of Africa, have shown and honest trait. They reported my phone lost, not theirs.
Grabbing my phone from a steward, I then retrace my dash with the same speed – Kenya Airways is known for leaving late passengers and I was surely the last one on board today. As I cross the plane’s threshold my shock of loss turned into shock of recovery. I had just lost and found an expensive mobile phone, thanks to the goodwill of Africa’s most maligned millions: Nigerians.
Maybe it was a sense of right and wrong, or of morality on a Sunday, or just a recognition that they too could face the same plight, but regardless of the reason, I am grateful to those in the Murtala Muhammed International Airport on a random morning in July.
And as repayment, let this experience be a drop of positive in a sea of Nigerian negatives.