I’m not sure why I’m inclined to write this. But it’s been at the forefront of my mind that I’m going to imagine the universe has a need for it to be told. It’s not one I’ve told a lot of people - but I recently had to tell it again to a younger friend of mine to re-iterate the fact that sometimes we all make mistakes.
Without trying to sound modest, I think I was a pretty good kid. And that continued right up to University. I had friends of both sexes but particularly wouldn't hang out alone with guys I didn’t know, and my close friends and roommates would often know were I was and who I was with.
So it was quite surprising that this happened. And I often laugh and say to myself that I must have been hypnotised - or just plain silly; or more likely made a mistake.
I don’t particularly remember the finer details of how I met this young man while in my second year at Uni. It must have been on the streets close to my hostel accommodation. But we probably chatted for a little while. He was well built and mentioned that attended one of the private universities in Nigeria. He wanted to chat further, but I had to run. He asked for my phone number and suggested we meet up later. I called out the digits and ran off.
Again, if you knew me back in Uni, I hardly ever gave out my phone number. I was most likely to collect yours - with a “I’ll call you” - which many times never materialised.
Anyway not surprisingly, he calls that evening or maybe the next and said he was outside my hostel if I was up for a quick chat. Now, it was a girls' only accommodation and dudes weren’t really allowed in. So I mentioned that I’ll pop out to see him.
Two things worth noting: I had bathroom flip flops on and I didn’t take my phone with me. I particularly remember it was charging so I left it plugged in. All of my three roommates were also out of the room, so I didn’t have to mention to anyone who I was going to see. Plus I was only going to be outside the gate!
I get out and we chat for a few minutes. Of mundane stuff that I can obviously not remember. Then he looks at his watch and says something about “oh I’m kind of low of gas and the stations would close shortly. Hop into the car, let me just get some from the station at the school gate”. I particularly remember that the fact that he said ‘gas’ and not ‘fuel’ sort of put me off. Pretty much everyone in Nigeria said fuel, so I rolled my eyes in my head and thought “who is this one forming for?”
How I got into that car, I still do not know. Hence the hypnosis hypothesis. This was someone I barely knew. I had no phone. No wallet. I was in flip flops. No one in the entire world knew where I was or who I was with. Wow!
This next part is a bit fuzzy as It’s been about 10 years this happened. If I recall correctly, he drove past the ‘gas’ station, mentioning something about needing to quickly pick something up from his house. Or maybe he did get the 'gas' but rather than make a 'U' turn back into the university campus, he proceeded to drive straight. Either way we didn’t head back to Uni.
All of the alarm bells in my head started to go off and I panicked. I asked him to drop me off, but he said we’d only be five minutes or less. Would I have jumped out of a moving vehicle?
At this point, I definitely began to pray as paranoia began to actively set in.
I don’t even recall how long we drove for. But one thing I do recall was that right there in the middle of the drive, he took off his shirt! And reached to the back seat for another t-shirt which he then wore.
Who the heck is this person, what was going on, and what the heck am I doing here? These were questions on my mind - amidst constant bursts of prayer.
Now we arrive at the house and I have never seen fences that huge. At least, not in Ibadan. It seems like a bungalow, so the fences pretty much enclose the house. It’s dark outside and the house itself doesn’t appear to be lit.
As we drive in and put the car in park, two of the biggest and scariest looking dogs I had ever seen approach the two sides of the window. I think they were bull dogs. I’m surprised I didn’t faint at that point. They were barking up the window while he got down to enter the house.
I didn’t even know what to expect. Would the dogs eat me? Would I be dragged into the house and molested? Would I about to be used for some ritual? I kept praying constantly and calling on God to spare me from what seemed like the valley of death.
Eventually, this young man appeared from inside the house. But it didn’t seem like all was about to end, as an older man appeared with him holding a glass of whiskey and perhaps a cigarette.
Sigh. I thought. "What now"?
The young man entered the car and wound the window down a bit as his uncle approached the passenger side of the car. The dog was still there and kept trying to put its head through the window.
“You’re the one this young man has been going on and on about”. The uncle said. "What was there to go on and on about", I thought? I barely knew him and we had exchanged only a few sentences. He went to say something about me looking scared and why I shouldn’t be as the young man was going to drop me off in school.
I have never felt so relieved when the gates opened and we reversed out of the house away from the darkness and escorted by the barking of the dogs.
As we drove out, I was certain that I would be willing to jump out of the moving vehicle if need be.
I didn’t stop praying - now including prayers of thanks and gratitude. The need to jump out did not arise. Eventually the school gates were in view.
We drove in and five minutes later, I was right back at my hostel.
I don’t recall saying any goodbyes. But I do recall him apologising over something. I ran into my room trying to think if all of that actually just happened. My roommates were perplexed as to where I had been, and even more so when I told them the story.
I obviously never set my eyes on him again.
I keep wondering. Was it all a genuine incident? Were there any plans to harm me? Would it have made any difference if I didn’t have flip flops on and left with my phone and wallet? Maybe not.
But it could have been helpful if I had refused to get into the car with someone I didn’t know. if I had taken a few more seconds to consider the consequences of my actions. Or at the very least, if people knew who I was with and had his details. There’d have been a starting point on where to look if things went awry.
And for me that’s something to always bear in mind. Particularly in this social media age, where we often meet people online and think we know them enough to meet up with them without anyone knowing, and in private, questionable circumstances or places.
Particularly vulnerable are younger girls and kids as there are predators literally everywhere.
Sharing this and hoping it we stay incredibly aware, safe and prayed up!
Do you think I’m overreacting and it was probably not a big deal? What’s your scariest experience - might be something to learn from it.