Firdausi Muhammad Aliyu remembers that afternoon in 2021 when her father gave her money to journey from Gombe town to Kaltungo Local Government Area in the same Gombe State.
She was heading there to take her Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination, or UTME.
Aliyu was excited because she had always enjoyed exploring new places. “My father also allocated funds for me to stay in a hotel since I didn’t know anyone in the town,” she said.
Aliyu reached Kaltungo in the evening and found herself stranded at the motor park. She wished to inquire about the location of a hotel but was afraid of going alone because it was not a place she wanted to be in.
As she moved from the motor park to the main road, she saw a young girl of her age and decided to approach her.
“I refused to ask men because I thought they might judge me wrongly when they learn that I’m looking for a hotel,” Aliyu recounted.
When she inquired about the hotel’s location, both became silent until the girl asked why Aliyu was looking for a hotel.
After Aliyu explained, the girl smiled and offered to host her at her home, a few kilometres from the motor park.
“I was sceptical when she made the offer, but I wasn’t comfortable with going to a hotel. I had no other option, and she said I should trust her, so we stopped a motorcycle which took us there,” Aliyu told Prime Progress.
Upon arriving at the house, the girl’s mother greeted Aliyu with a cup of water. After the girl explained everything to her mother, Aliyu received food and a comfortable place to sleep.
The following morning, the girl accompanied Aliyu to the exam venue and waited for her to complete it before they returned home.
“I’m still amazed by the kindness of that girl and her family. They accommodated me without knowing where I came from. It touched my heart and made me realise that there are many good people out there,” Aliyu expressed.
After Aliyu returned to Gombe, she shared the story with her parents, who were amazed but cautioned her against such risks. They believed it was not safe.
However, Aliyu and the girl developed a friendship and continued to nurture it through phone conversations.
Three months later, the girl’s family invited Aliyu to a wedding at their home, and she accepted.
“I sought my parents’ permission, and they allowed me to go. I feel like we are now one family,” Aliyu said.
In 2022, when the girl was preparing to take her UTME in Gombe, Aliyu invited her to stay at her house for the night since the exam was early in the morning. The girl accepted, and Aliyu introduced her to her parents and siblings.
“I felt that this was a chance for me to repay the kindness she offered me. Such gestures are rare,” Aliyu stressed.
Today, Aliyu is pursuing an undergraduate degree in Microbiology at Gombe State University, while the girl is studying at the Federal College of Education (Technical) in Gombe. Their encounter shows how kindness can lead to a meaningful friendship.