Mrs Yemi Akindele was driving home from work at about 10:20pm last Wednesday evening when she ran into an unusual sight around Irawo bus stop along Ikorodu Road, Lagos. The sight of a young man looking distressed and holding a white jerrycan forced her to pull over to the side of the busy road. The instinct to help a man in need overwhelmed her tendency to fear for her own safety. Boldly and damning the consequences, the mother of three got out of her car and walked towards the middle-aged man. Upon interrogation, the man claimed his vehicle ran out of petrol and that he had no cash on him to buy some fuel. According to him, he left his wallet and mobile phone at a friend’s house where he claimed to have been that evening, thereby compounding his predicament. Without wasting too much time, Akindele ordered the young man to follow her to her car. She reached for her handbag and handed him N2,000 – enough to buy him about 14 litres of premium motor spirit to fuel his car and get him home. The ‘good Samaritan’ went away fulfilled.
But four days later, while driving home after a hectic day’s job, a rude shock greeted Akindele as she negotiated the bend around Ajegunle bus stop enroute Agric, where she lives with her husband and children. Parked at a corner of the busy road and waving to car users with a jerrycan in his hand was the same man Akindele had recently given N2,000 to buy fuel for his car. He was using the same trick on others. Now enraged at having been fooled by the guy, the public relations consultant pulled over, got out of her car and approached the man, who apparently didn’t recognise her.
“Immediately I approached and asked him what the problem was, he told me he ran out of fuel and that he left his wallet and mobile phone at a friend’s place,” Akindele said. “I was furious, I felt like punching him in the face. He forgot that I was the same woman who had given him N2,000 four days earlier when he made the same claim.
“I had to ask him if it was every day he ran out of fuel. As soon as he realised he had been exposed, he entered the same car he claimed had no fuel and drove off. I never would have imagined that the man was just a trickster who had devised a way to beg for money.” Read more