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I chose this Bible verse as the title of this short piece because of Mike's life journey.
You see, i met this guy couple of years back, we went to shoot a movie in Tinapa and he was working in the hotel we lodged. He wasn't a full time worker rather a part time gardener in the hotel, he was one of the friendly people in the hotel, always there to help a guest either with his or her luggage or to run an errand. I noticed that he was among the people that washed guest cars in the hotel. Mind you, the hotel in question is a three star hotel.
Mike always made out time from work to follow us around because he liked our team and like every one in his condition, once it's film people, money must surely come out.
We used him in couple of scenes as an extra and he was so happy to be on set as what is tagged 'waka pass' in Nigeria film industry. I decided to share his story because Mike needed serious financial help when i first met him. He could summarize his life story in one sentence.(HARDSHIP) But despite coming from a poor background and dropping out from school, he had dreams to one day go back to school.
We spent three weeks in Tinapa and i must be honest,Mike had our entire team wrapped in his palm before we left, there was no one among us that didn't gave him something, he got wrist watches, shirt, trousers, shoes and cash. Imagine in a hotel where there are so many workers and one got the attention of everyone. One thing about this dude is his ability to mingle with everyone. Infact, i was told by the Manager of the hotel that most of their guests enjoy staying in the hotel just because of Mike. He wasn't a waiter, cleaner, gate man, manager, front desk clerk rather an ordinary gardener yet everyone that comes to the hotel leaves with one memory; Mike and also comes back knowing that he or she has a friend in the hotel.
I had the privileged to visit Tinapa during the Easter holidays but this time, it wasn't for work rather for fun with my family and although my wife wanted us to stay in a nice hotel, say a five star hotel so to enjoy all the goodies in Tinapa because one thing about the city is the fun in resorts and big hotels, the life band and their standard packages for fun lovers and holidaymakers. I also wanted to catch fun and also to give my kids the taste of Tinapa and the hotel where Mike works would not give me the kind of enjoyment the family desire but in all, i knew that i would see my old friend once again. Yes, Mike became my friend then and i bought him a pair of shoe.
Our itinerary was to spend three days in Tinapa then move onward to Obudu for two days so i knew that i needed to see Mike as soon as we arrived in Tinapa so after checking into Lakeside resort with my family, i got a cab and headed down town to see this young man. The time was something between 1pm or thereabout when i got to his work place and as the cab drove in, i sighted him cleaning a car so when i got down from the car and he saw me, he couldn't believe it, he recognized me and immediately shouted...Director! Director! He quickly gave the car he was cleaning few last wipes then ran towards me and as usual, he had his smile.
We exchanged pleasantries then i asked him couple of questions about life and finally handed him what i brought for him. He couldn't believe that i came all the way to the hotel just to see him, you could read his emotions as tears dropped down from his eyes while he kept calling me Bros! Bros! Bros! He was so excited that after all these years, i still remembered him, just as we were talking, a man walked out from the hotel and headed towards the car lot so Mike excused me to see the man off, he immediately walked to the man and helped him with his throwley bag then when they got to the man's car, i noticed that the man gave him something and from where i was, i knew that it was a cheque.
I saw Mike fell down and began to roll all over so i rushed towards them and he was just calling on God as he kept rolling while we watched him, i was perplexed because i didn't know exactly why he was doing that but he was saying God! God! What did i do to deserve all these? The situation attracted everyone in the hotel premises then when tearful Mike later stood up, everyone was left dumb folded. You see, in life, there is nothing better than doing good. Mike humbled himself and made lots of good friends while working in the hotel, his manner of approach, the smile and i mean everything about him and the way he attends to people made him an exceptional staff in that hotel where he has worked for seven years as a gardener.
Mike got Five Million Naira cheque from the man about to leave the hotel after staying there for two months, he told me that Mike was an exception and always cleaned his car every morning, he told me that he didn't know Tinapa when he arrived from the capital and Mike was always there to show him around, he said lots of good things about Mike and because of his humility and diligence, he decided to sow a seed in his life thus the cheque.Well, to cut a long story short, i had my cab man drove Mike to the bank and helped him cashed the cheque. I also explained the situation to the Bank Manager who immediately identified himself with Mike's grass to grace story so a bank account was immediately opened on his behalf to lodge his money while he bring the necessary requirement needed to open a bank account later on.
I left Tinapa very happy because what happened to Mike was one of the things i so much love to see and i also kept in touch with him as we talk almost everyday over the phone. Then last week Sunday, he paid me a visit and i told him that i want to share his story with you and when i asked him to pose for a shot, he posed this way and whispered to me. Rossi, i am a champion.