Man, has it been one long minute here? I suppose I should apologise for not posting constantly, yes? Truth is I’ve been really busy recently so things may not change even. I will try to sit my butt down and write something soon though, but in the meantime, here’s a story I wrote for Ynaija last month. So, if you missed it, enjoy!
Julie had just begun to work for us that summer. It is a really big company so typically, I didn’t know everyone who worked there; we only got to see each other at the staff canteen during lunch if they came and this was usually the time most of us bonded and forged friendships.
The first time I’d seen her at the canteen, I’d wondered who she was. She was the only one sat alone amongst everyone else in the huge hall. A strange occurrence if there was any as we prided ourselves as being one big happy family. I remember smiling at her the one time she’d managed to look up from her plate of amala round the room. That was the last I saw of her for a while.
About a month later, on a Monday morning, just as I drove into the company lot, I again caught sight of her dashing into the office building. I’d gone on inside after I parked my car only to meet a slight commotion at the reception area. Apparently, Julie had committed a grave error while completing a customer’s transaction and was receiving a great deal of heat from her supervisor who happened to be friends with me. Some of her colleagues stood around pointing fingers at her and whispering about how she was a terrible staff who totally deserved to get the boot.
As she looked up, I saw a terrible sadness in her eyes and my heart went out to her. I walked over to her, squeezed her shoulders gently and whispered:
“Those guys are morons. They really should get lives.”
She looked at me and said, “thanks!” There was a big smile on her face. It was one of those smiles that showed real gratitude.
I went on later to speak to her supervisor about cutting her some slack this one time and generally took her under my wings; we also started going to lunch together. As it turned out, she lived near me so I drove her home as well. The more time we spent together, the more I realized just how really cool and smart she was. I asked her to hang out with me and my friends that weekend at the spa and the more I got to know her, the more I grew to love her.
Over the next year, Julie and I became fast friends. I watched her grow from that shy, timid junior staff to a self-assertive associate who knew her onions. She made friends with everyone and could hold a conversation with anyone without once fidgeting—a major feat for her too. When our close of financial year came, Julie was nominated staff of that year and was required to give a speech in this guise.
As the hour approached for her to go up and give her speech in front of over one thousand staff, I saw how nervous she was and I hugged her and said: “You’ll be great dear, this is what you do best-be great!” She looked at me with one of those really grateful looks and smiled, “Thanks.”
She commenced giving her speech and amidst thanking everyone who had helped shape her career thus far; colleagues, friends, family, supervisors, she told of the day she had met me, of how overwhelmed she’d felt that day what with problems at home and not delivering at work either. She told of how she’d decided she was going to end it all that day, how she was going to kill herself. She had already bought enough rat poison to knock of an entire herd of rats to OD on but fortunately, God wasn’t having any of that. He had sent her a friend-me who had brought comfort, laughter, happiness and sunshine into her life. Who knew a year ago that she was going to ever be good at her job much less become Staff Of The Year?
She had looked at me again with that look of eternal gratitude and whispered, “thank you”. I had tears pouring down my face by then, indeed there wasn’t a dry face left in that hall.
Who knew that my little act of kindness had saved a person’s life? Who knew that by extending friendship to that sad and lonely girl, I had not only given her hope but had unwittingly given hope to so many generations unborn? Now I never underestimate the power of my actions. I learned that the support of a caring friend can impact someone in ways we may not fully understand and appreciate.
Being a true and loyal friend to someone is the best gift you can give. I hope I can give enough of these gifts in my short journey through life.