It was about six years back, he had arrived from a foreign trip on an official assignment. Few minutes after landing at the airport and being filled with joy and enthusiasm to reunite with his family and share the beautiful gifts he bought for them, “of a truth God was gracious”, he soliloquized. He had barely left the airport premises, when yet another miracle happened. Mr. Johnson opened his text messaging app, and alas, he couldn’t believe what he saw, he shook his head, reached out for his glasses wiped them clean again, “no, no no… this can’t be true, haba just like that, God is good!” he said to himself after reading the message a few times, amused and smiling to himself. The cab man had noticed and looked back through his front mirror. “Mr. driver pay attention! look at the road”-he shot back quickly and went back to his laughter. He muttered a few things which sounded like praises to his God, in his local dialect.
The kids had just come back from school, ran into the house on seeing dad’s shoes by the door. “daddy welcome! daddy welcome! daddy welcome!” seven year old, light skinned Gabriel, and five year old, chocolate skinned Gabriella sang while running to embrace their dad. He lifted them up, danced with them.
Few hours later dad was unpacking, he had gifts for His wife Mfon and the kids; toys, wristwatches, clothes, shoes and bags. “oya everyone get dressed, we’re going out for a special treat” dad declared.
“hey!! hey!! it has happened o” dad exclaimed to himself, reaching for his phone and sweating ” what is that number again, ehmm, One, Two, One CUSTOMER CARE” The call went through, he followed the voice prompt and in 2 minutes got connected to make complaints to a customer care agent.
This was where the drama unfolded.
Mr Johnson, received a text message from GLO, as one of the lucky winners in the GLO BUMPA FIESTA, He won 5 million naira, though He was surprised at first, but not after recounting spending so much on airtime recharge, for calls and data. “I deserve to be rewarded at least”, he thought to himself. On getting through to the contact number on the text message, He had to give personal details to verify His claims.
Agent Beatrice helped him out in this assignment. He had no time for the long procedure being too elated “okay sir you would receive a message from us shortly” – She said before hanging up. Shortly after, He received a text format to send his secret verification code and other details to 121.
Mr Johnson was told to contact the customer care number in the text message if he didn’t get a response in 30 minutes. He called again “I have done everything and its still not working, please nothing should happen to my money o”. Beatrice spoke softly and reassured him.
His spirit lit up again, “our database hasn’t received anything from you, can you please send the details of the message to this number” she read the number to him. “you would have said that since na” he said. “I would do that immediately”.
He called back to tell her, He had sent the details of his earlier sent message to this new number, of a database agent. “Reach us in the next, 2 hours, if you do not receive a text message confirming your reward and instructions to follow for your bank payment” Beatrice said.
Mr. Johnson finally thanked her and hung up, now satisfied He would be cashing some millions soon. “So Madam, I waited and received a text, saying thank you sir for your cooperation, and the 5000 naira gift, boys dey hustle, happy fools day!” He said to the customer care agent on 121 .
Mr Johnson was asked to send 5000 naira single GLO recharge pin and His secret code in a particular format to 121 (globacomms customer care number) since no response came through, Beatrice gave him another number, this time beginning with +234.., The number he used in contacting Beatrice was now switched off.
“We’re sorry sir, you were scammed, GLO would never ask for airtime to redeem a price or ask for confidential information through an agent, please be careful next time, visit any of our branches and make formal complaints, do have a nice day”.
As the call ended, Mr. Johnson recounted that day the incident occurred was April first, FOOLS DAY THAT TIME OF THE YEAR.
BE CAREFUL AND BE DILIGENT. MUCH LOVE.
SHORT STORY BY
DANIEL FAITHFUL M.