So, I met this guy the other day at the entrance gate to the Kwara Shopping Mall. He was crippled in one leg and he approached me as I was leaving with my purchases, begging.
I don’t like people begging, especially when they’re not really physically or mentally challenged. Though I’m always eager to help, yet it feels bad that human dignity could be so abused.
Anyways, this guy came and I gave him some change. But as he was about to leave, bowing to thank me, I said gently to him: “Oga (a Yoruba salutation) sorry, but there’s something I’ll like to tell you.”
He stopped and looked up at me. I looked at him kindly, my voice gentle and concerned.
“I hope you won’t mind me saying this but, why don’t you try and get a job? Instead of begging.”
He lowered his gaze, obviously embarrassed, not expecting that.
I continued. “You know, begging does not dignify you. There are some people coming here who are not as worthy as you are, but they will look down on you just because you are begging from them.”
He nodded his head in agreement, his way of telling me he understood.
And finally I told him: “Try to get a job… something you can do. With that, you won’t have to beg again and soon enough, even you will start giving to others. Then nobody will be able to look down on you again. Hmm?”
He nodded again and thanked me sincerely, bowing in appreciation. He could not look into my eyes as we parted ways.
Now, I’ve not been to the shopping mall since and I’m not sure I’ll recognize this guy if we met again. But of one thing I’m sure: I’ve helped that guy to feel like a respectable human being, not a common beggar. It was a decision I made to help as many people as I can in as many ways as possible.
Rather than complain and condemn, I will inspire!
And I shared this story to show you how, one person at a time, we can inspire our nation.
NB: If I had a job opportunity, or known of one, I would have offered that guy and not just talked to him about getting one.