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    How I Shared My Pepsi And A Smile With A Stranger

    On 8 March 2019, I bought a plastic Pepsi but couldn’t drink it before leaving the office. So I put it in my backpack to drink at home.

    On the bus, a boy sat beside me. He brought out Agege bread, squeezed it in between his palms, and started eating it.

    The boy had hunger written all over him. By stroke of reflex, I brought out my Pepsi and offered it to him. He declined.

    I opened it, drank little, and offered it to him again. This time around, he accepted.

    “Have you eaten anything before now?” I asked him.

    He shook his head in the negative, so I asked where he was going.

    “Night shift at a factory, so I need to eat now.”

    That bread was his only food. Plus, my Pepsi. For the day.

    “How old are you?”

    “16 years old.”

    I felt sad.

    I was almost pushed to ask him how much he earned, but I held myself. I guess he read my mind.

    “Thanks for the Pepsi sir, at least I have extra strength for my ₦7k work this night.”

    “₦7k? For one night, abi?”

    “No ooo. It’s for the month.”

    Plenty of thoughts ran through my mind. How do people manage to survive in this Lagos? I have heard stories before, but I felt it was a fable. How on earth was it possible that people could go through such. But here I am.

    At his bus stop, I alighted with him.

    “Hey, can I hug you?” I asked him.

    Small tears had already circled around his eyes.

    He nodded.

    I hugged him. “You will be fine,” I whispered.

    “Before you change into your overall to work, check your back pocket.”

    He smiled.

    I smiled because he smiled. I hope whatever he found in his pocket went a long way for him.

    Martin Beck Nworah

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