As the afternoon wore on that Tuesday, Sa’adatu Usman grew weary with concern for her little children who hadn’t eaten since morning. Her oldest son, who had just joined the Nigerian army, had promised to send some money. Yet days had passed without any response.
“I sent him the account number of a POS merchant, and many days had passed and I didn’t hear from him,” Usman said.
Usman is a widow living with two children in Sabon Gari, a community in Jalingo, the capital city of Nigeria’s Taraba State. Prior to the general elections in March, Usman lost a housecleaning job at a politician’s house and has since struggled to fend for herself and her children. The job paid N22,000 each month.
“The people I worked for relocated to Abuja in January 2023, and since then, I couldn’t secure another job,” she expressed.
Since then, Usman has scraped by on the little stipend from her daughter, who’s married. Sometimes aid comes from her eldest son, but this is infrequent.
Seeing her little children crying that Tuesday afternoon, Usman made her way to the POS shop with the forlorn hope that her son had sent the money, but the merchant told her that he hadn’t received any money from Usman’s son. When Usman tried to reach her son, his number wouldn’t connect. Disappointed, she trudged back home.
As she waited for a call from her son, Usman felt racked with guilt watching her children starve. So she hurried back to the POS shop again, but the merchant’s response was the same.
Her son hadn’t sent any money.
Next, Usman asked the POS merchant if he could lend her some money—however little—while she kept her phone with him as collateral. The POS merchant didn’t accept the offer. A man who stood there to make a transaction inquired to know what the problem was, and, seeking Usman’s consent, the merchant explained the situation to him. Taking pity on her, the man directed the merchant to dole out N3,000 from his money. He further prayed to God to ease her situation.
Usman could hardly contain her joy. Tears welled up in her eyes as she was profuse with thanks for having received the money. Immediately, she hurried to a nearby shop to purchase some groceries.
This was an unexpected act of kindness that provided not only relief but also left an indelible mark in Usman’s heart, as she realised that help will come even in times of hardship.
“I felt excited about the kind gesture. I will always pray to God to increase this man with wealth. He helped my life when I didn’t expect it. We ate that night and even the next morning. My children were also smiling,” Usman narrated.