Everyone has their own share of experience in life and the journey of survival. How you choose to fend for yourself, get your daily dues, achieve your set goals; long and short term is entirely up to an individual, and the tactics for survival that they have employed, and adapted to. Coming to Nairobi, is almost everyone’s wish, because I mean who does not want to have a part of their lives stating, they have visited the capital city? Well, you can answer that for yourself, if you relate.
Triza got herself a ticket to the capital city, via her education pass. Yes, she had come to the city to further her education at the university level. And as usual, if it is your first time, there are those stereotypes, and fears that one is instilled with about life in the city, not to scare you but to keep you alert. And these bits of advice from all the concerned parties, she took very seriously and keenly. Hence, making her arrival, and stay in Nairobi city, as smooth as it suited her, she adapted and became more of a local, than an alien in the big city.
One fateful day, after one of her lectures, she decided to take a break off the campus, take a walk, and grab herself some snacks, before resuming her normal afternoon routine. While walking she came to a busy street with a lot of people rushing up and down, since it was during afternoon hours.
'Hello, Madam.' 'Excuse me,' a distinct man's voice came from behind.
Triza kept on walking, she heard the voice calling out again, almost over her shoulder, she stopped and turned.
'Are you talking to me?' she asked.
'Yes, sorry to bother you but could you spare a minute of your time kindly?' requested the man.
'Sure, what can I do you for?'
The introductory part of the conversation went by, and both became acquainted with each other. The man went ahead to tell Triza, how she was to be of assistance. It turned out he was in a dilemma. He had come from upcountry and was on a mission in the city that was, unfortunately, turning out to be unfruitful. He had won a lottery but unfortunately, he could not pick his prize, due to a lack of the identification card to prove his true identity.
‘Now that is where you come in.’ Said the man.
‘Explain to me how!’
‘Well, I would like you to take this lottery card and go to the lottery offices and claim it as your own win.’
‘Will they not know it is not mine since you were there before?’
‘How will they know?’
It is not like it has my name on it, you just get a lottery card you scratch it and if it is your lucky day, you win an amount as I have.
‘If you are in doubt, let us walk to a lottery vendor, you give it a try.’
He managed to convince Triza into assisting him, as she just assumed she would go collect the amount for the alleged man from the village, give it to him, get her token of appreciation, not that it was necessary, or of importance to her, she was extending her kindness. Upon arrival, a block away from the lottery offices, the man halted her at her heels.
'Now, the thing is, I cannot go in there with you.'
‘Okay then you can wait here, I will be back.’
‘Sure thing, but we are yet to have a deal...’
‘What do you mean?’ Triza asked in shock.
‘You see, this is a lottery of a huge amount and I'm not sure of trusting you, not that I doubt you, you have agreed to help me. But I may need collateral for security just in case.’
‘Oh is that so, now you do not trust that I will bring you back your money?’
‘We are human, I am just being cautious.’
This agreement was taking a turn that Triza was unaware of. Not that she was being ignorant of, let us say she was little informed of the situation she had had herself in.
‘So what do you propose? I could give you my student's identity card.’
'No, what will a student's card secure me with? Well, I suggest you leave me your phone, as you come back you will get it back, as well as, a share for your kindness and assistance.
There and then, the exchange of the lottery card and the phone was done. By now you might be having an idea of where this tale is going. Triza took on the mission of going to cash out this lottery ticket, trusting that the man would be awaiting with her phone, as they had agreed. As she approached the office, she met a few people, one woman took an interest in her and extended a conversation.
‘Wow, congratulations. You have won the lottery. It must be your lucky day!’ Exclaimed the woman.
This statement made the rest take note.
‘Alas, congratulations!’ Another extended their excitement.
Triza played cool and kept her calm. But then, another one made a remark that sent chills over Triza's spine in a split of a second.
‘She may truly be lucky, because, of late these lotteries have become a scamming strategy for com-men in these streets, and so many people have fallen victim.’ He remarked.
This statement made Triza look at the lottery card, and suddenly something did not feel right in her gut. She stopped and gave it another look, then did the unexpected. She ran her finger over the scratched section of the lottery, and she could not believe her eyes. It was not a winning lottery; it had been forged. Not taking a second thought, she turned around and ran down the stairs, out of the office’s premises, to where she had left the man standing.
It is then that reality hit her. She had been conned off her phone in her act of kindness, and willingness to assist a stranger. It was a hard stone to swallow, and sad truth to come to terms with. But she had no otherwise but to accept the sudden reality, as the man had been long gone and nowhere to be seen.
Con artists have become the new white-collar professionals, in the streets of the city. And mastered to their art, tactics, and luring language, many have fallen prey to their, extended thieving claws. Just like Triza, an act of kindness can be your bait to being lured into their white lies that, you may not notice, as immediately, or even catch them in the act until the damage is done.
One needs to be cautious on whom you are extending your kindness to, as this act of easy kindness is at most times taken for weakness. We are all hustling to get by in one way or another. Not everyone is worthy of your kind heart or you might just end up losing valuables in the process. That was a huge lesson Triza learned from then on.
Note: The names of the characters used above, are not their real names.
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