L-R: John and Nathan

Hello great Danfodites, Uchenna Emelife here and welcome to #HumansOfUDUS, a space where we tell and spread kindness. 

For the first episode of #HumansOfUDUS, I had the pleasure of listening to Nathan Ahmadu, a 400 level student of English language, tell me about his friend who came through for him at a time he thought all hope was lost. “Today, there’s nothing I can’t do for him,” Nathan tells me. Here is the full story: 

“I have always found the concept of friendship interesting. True friendship, the kind we read about in books. You read books and you see how writers write friends — two people ready to face whatever the world throws at them together, you love the bond, you envy it, you crave it. But it always seemed farfetched. How can someone who isn’t your family be that caring? In my head, that was something only literature and movies could offer us. Never reality. 

John and I have been acquaintances since our UG1. We had a mutual friend, Jethro so we were always bumping into each other. In the hostel. In the church. In the classroom. Before a gaming screen. Wherever Jethro went, there was John. And wherever Jethro went, there was me too. So we ended up hanging out often that familiarity upgraded our relationship to ‘friends’ even though we weren’t as close. 

John like Jethro has a cool personality. He wears his grin proudly whenever he chooses to flash it, is soft-spoken, gentle, maybe too meek, but that made him likable, so the more we met, the more I realised we clicked. It went from ‘Hi’ to handshakes, from handshakes to ‘How fars?’ and a handshake, from ‘How far?’ and a handshake’ to ‘Baba o’ and a handshake’, from ‘Baba o’ and a handshake to ‘Mumu boy, how you dey sef?’ and a handshake, from ‘Mumu boy, how you dey sef?’ and a handshake to more profanity that masked our mutual affection. Haha. While John and I did not become best of friends, we were close enough to spend hours trolling each other. 

L-R: John, Nathan and Jethro

Enter 2019 and it is our second year. A new VC had just been announced. The coming session began with a little change in the payment system. Students were no longer allowed to pay their fees near exams but would’ve to do so at the start of the semester, lest risk forfeiting the entire year. The change caused great distress in me. My forehead lines made thick rolls it looked like a Nigerian road. How do I meet up with the deadline? For someone like me who had to work for their fees, paying early was a luxury I could not afford. 

This was a mess. I was in big trouble. 

I’ve never been comfortable with opening up. Believe me, I know it’s not healthy but I hate being a burden to people. But somehow, Jethro found out I was yet to pay my fees and the deadline was speedily approaching. He asked me what I planned on doing and I could not give an answer. You know how now they say ‘on vibes’, yeah? That was me. I was banking on vibes when before me was the threat of missing a year. 

During one of our hangouts, John was telling us about the new phone he finally planned on getting. Long overdue, so he was excited about it. John rarely changes anything, he was quite the sentimental monk. That he decided to change his phone was a big deal that must have gone through a lot of thinking. I tried so hard to join in his excitement but I couldn’t. Deep down, there was a looming sorrow and John caught on it. He tried to get me to share what was wrong but I refused to. He then turned to Jethro and made him spill. When Jethro did, an awkward silence grew between the three of us and towered over the ‘new phone’ excitement. I hated myself for being the reason why. For being the object of their empathy. For not concealing my worry enough. For not basking in the euphoria of a new phone expectant. The meeting ended and we all went to our rooms. 

The next morning, I got a call from John. He asked me to come outside that he was in front of my room. I wondered why, but I did. Next thing I knew John handed me N21,000 and asked me to go pay my fees before the deadline which was the next day. I stood. Confused. Shocked. I held the money in my hands but it felt surreal. Was this really happening? ‘Why… how… what?…’ I managed to mutter. 

L-R: Nathan and John

Signature John didn’t wait for any kind of acknowledgement or appreciation. He just left. I stood and in my hands were more than I needed to complete my fees. In my hands was a gift I didn’t ask for, from someone I had only known for a couple of months. I would eventually find out from Jethro that it was the money he had saved up for his phone, he took a chunk out of and offered me. It left me numb. All my life, I had always envied these friendships in books and films, never believed they were real, until that day. 

John, I hope you get to read this. I hope you won’t be mad at me for choosing to tell the world of your kindness. It may look like nothing to you, but it isn’t to me. It is everything. Thank you so much for being. Thank you, Jethro for giving me John. Thank you #HumansOfUDUS for the opportunity to tell my story.”

Tell us in the comments what about this story resonates with you. Do you have a story of any form of kindness shown you by a Danfofite? Contact Uchenna Emelife on https://wa.me/message/JWZDTNFA52YXP1.

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