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Heroic Matatu Conductor Saves Passengers [PART 2]

  • “Mpatie chwani twende,” the thug behind me instructed.

    “Sawa,” I responded, knowing this was exactly what could probably end up saving the lives of my passengers…

    In case you missed out on part 1 of the story, you can get it here.

    Ok. Back to my story.

    A signpost showing Gigiri Police Station

    A signpost showing Gigiri Police Station.

    Twitter

    ‘Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face’, my favourite boxer once said.

    In my criminology class, the importance of critical thinking was constantly drilled into us.

    “Maintain a clear head. Your mind is your biggest asset,” Professor Mogesi often said..

    I’d be lying if I told you that my head was anything close to clear by this point.

    What I experienced in the 100 or so metres between the Canadian Embassy and the Gigiri intersection proved that ‘vitu kwa ground are very, very different’.

    All the higher education theories flew right out the window.

    My heart was pounding. It had a frantic rhythm…thud, thud…thud.

    In that 100 or so metres, my mind took up a life of its own, with one question playing on constant loop…

    Was my plan going to work?

    Matatu Bus Stop Sign at GPO Stage, Along Kenyatta Avenue in Nairobi. Monday, October 21, 2019

    Matatu Bus Stop Sign at GPO Stage, Along Kenyatta Avenue in Nairobi. Monday, October 21, 2019

    Kenyans.co.ke

    “Yes it will,” a voice in my mind said…It was calm and reassuring…it had that Morgan Freeman tone and texture to it.

    It cooled me down. My heart was slowly finding its way back to its cavity….everything is going to be ok…or so I thought.

    Freeman’s calming voice was brought to an abrupt end by a shrieky one.

    It sounded like that of a dog that was losing a fight..and losing it badly – tail between its legs and all.

    This voice (which I tagged as doubt) had its own set of questions.

    Aren’t you risking the lives of your passengers by trying to prove to be some sort of Jason Bourne, Jack Bauer, and James Bond all rolled into one?

    What if your ‘ingenious’ plan doesn’t work? 

    What if you get someone ki….

    “Oya!”

    “Oya!” a voice yelled out again, this time testing my rib’s resistance with that thing he was holding.

    It stung, bringing me back to Limuru Road with a bang.

    “Amesema umpatie chwani ya vela twende. No monkey business,” Scar said (Yes, let’s refer to the man seated behind me as Scar).

    We were at the roadblock. 

    A sharp burning sensation hit my nostrils as I slid my window open and looked up ahead…My jaw dropped.

    Evans was nowhere in sight…

    In his place was this giant of man. He must have been at least 6’3.

    He raised his freakishly long right arm, while his left pointed towards the curb on the side of the road.

    Tito brought the car to a halt.

    After spending what seemed like an eternity reading all the stickers pasted on the ma3’s windscreen, he walked up to my window.

    There was an awkward silence as I let my hand hang loose from the window. Inside it was a 50 bob note that was folded down to pea-size.

    I swung my arm ever so gently to make sure the officer saw what was in it.

    “Unajaribu kuhonga afisaa?” 

    That caught me totally off guard.

    “Well Kevo,” he said, “What do you have to say for yourself?”

    I stared into the vast emptiness of the night. Dumbfounded.

    “I’m waiting,” he said.

    My mind was blank.

    He shook his head. “Are you dumb? Ongea ama twende station!”

    Have you ever seen a terrible winker trying to wink? 

    That was me.

    “Nini mbaya na macho? Umetumia ike kitu, sindio?”

    I tried again.

    Scar had another go at my sore ribs.

    “Haiya! Evans ebu maliza haraka ukuje ujionee makanga wazimu,” 

    I was incensed.

    Makanga is a word that always sparks a hulk-ish level of anger in me. 

    “Makanga ni nan…” I cut myself short.

    Wait…Did he just say Evans? 

    Another poke on my ribs. 

    Scar wasn’t playing around, and I could tell that he really put his back into it this time around.

    There was a soft, almost muzzled crackle as one of my ribs gave way.

    I turned around and squared up to him. 

    “Ungekuwa na haraka ungetoka jana,” I said… knowing Evans was around, which had emboldened me.

    It was a line I had never used…Unbelievable. I know. 

    You should have seen Scar’s puzzled face. It matched every other face in the matatu.

    I turned back to the officer who seemed just as shocked as my passengers.

    “Can we go now,” I asked, “It’s getting late na abiria pia wamechoka,” I tried winking again, but gave up halfway as both my eyelids just seemed to come down at the exact same time.

    I was at my wits end.

    Then came a sound so horrifyingly loud…Everyone was screaming.

    “Hands up!” a voice bellowed out, “Slowly… 

    My maroon outfit was drenched in sweat as I raised my trembling hands (which weighed a tonne) and found my way back to an upright position.

    I turned towards the voice. Hands still shaking like leaves in the middle of a storm.

    It was Evans. His gun was drawn, finger on the trigger. His colleagues had all taken up a similar stance.

    As it turns out, the hands up order was meant for Scar and his accomplices.

    For some inexplicable reason, my hands remained up.

    I later…much much later, came to learn that the officers had been lying in wait and used the giant of a cop as a decoy as Evans later informed me.

    “You’ve never referred to me as ‘bro’…that’s how I knew it was serious,” he told me, as we all recorded our statements at the police station.

    They had managed to apprehend the thugs without firing off a single round.

    The rest of the evening was pretty uneventful…Aside from me telling my side of the story to the guitar lady as we were escorted by the cops all the way to Ruaka.

    Of course I added a little bit of spice here and, she was very pretty, you would have done the same.

    “Here’s my number, just in case you need to talk to someone. Trauma is real,” I said.

    “Haha, really.”

    She eventually called and as fate would have it, we started dating.

    We also got hitched along the way and to say my ruracio was scarier than the incident would be an understatement.

    Let’s just say that my current job coupled with her dad (who happens to work in the army) led to a confrontation that deserves a story on its own.

    Anyway, my better half is now running her own Co-op kwa Jirani business, and recording her first studio album.

    We decided to set up the agency banking business out of a need to bring in extra income. 

    However, over the years my better half has been using it as her personal university. 

    She’s always throwing random financial jargon in the house. 

    “Babe, we need to cap our overheads,” is her favorite. 

    I have to admit that she has made me a better financial manager. 

    On the other hand, yours truly is just about to graduate.

    Apparently, a police officer who preferred anonymity, put in a good word for me years ago.

    I have that ‘blender in stomach’ moment right now, the good kind.

    Don’t let the little things get in the way of your night out with bae. Use your Mco-op cash app to pay all your bills today.#BankingBilaLimits

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    — Kenyans.co.ke (@Kenyans) March 27, 2021

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