By Izunna Okafor, Awka
Awka, the capital city of Anambra State, over the weekend, became a stage for a touching and dramatic reunion as an Anambra man, simply identified as Bishop the Hype Man, returned to the humble spot where he once sought solace in free meals from a roadside food vendor, Ms. Onyema Ekpeh.
Bishop’s journey from hardship to prosperity led him back to the female vendor, as he stormed with bundles of cash he rained on her, in reciprocation of the kindness that had sustained him during difficult times.
Recounting how it all started, Bishop said Ms. Onyema was always giving him food each time he went to her shop when he was struggling to survive. He said most times after eating he would playfully tell her that he didn’t have money and that he would pay when he had. He added that Ms. Onyema, after gazing at him, would have no option but to accept his word.
He said that this continued even to the point that the Ms. Onyema, after giving him food, would no longer care to ask him about money, knowing that the story would still be the same.
According to him, the gesture that struck him most was that despite all the accumulated incalculable debts, Ms. Onyema still went ahead to lend him the sum of N50,000 from her little savings when he requested loan from her as he was about changing environment to seek greener pastures elsewhere; even when she knew fully well that she was no longer going to be seeing him, let alone knowing when and how the loan would be re-payed.
Bishop, however, narrated that after one year without contact, Ms. Onyema started calling him, but he stopped picking her calls after having given her several assurances that he would still refund her the money; even while he didn’t know if it was because of the money that she was calling him or simply to check on him. He revealed that Ms. Onyema still remained patient with him, despite everything, and was no longer calling him since he began to decline her calls.
According to Bishop who said he now owned a club, it was in the Spirit of gratitude for such an uncommon love kindness, benevolence, and patience he saw in the woman that he decided to storm her food spot by surprise and show her love now that he has made it.
“This woman is a very good and kind-hearted woman. If we have this kind of selfless and benevolent qualities among our leaders, I bet you this country will not remain the same. She is not my mother, but she treated me like son, gave me food and money.
“She gave me food when I didn’t have, she gave me money when I didn’t have; she fed my friends. She don dey call me since last year, I no answer her; she go call me, call me, call me tire; and I no go answer her. Highest, if I manage pick call, I go tell am Madam relax, when I return… Now, I have returned. What I want to prove is simple! I just want to prove to people that good thing pays.
“It is very very important that I reward and celebrate this woman alive now that I have the opportunity, because nobody knows tomorrow. If person do good to you, appreciate am, celebrate am, and also do good to them when they are still alive, when you have the opportunity; and not when they are no more.
“Abeg give me more cash there make I birth her with money. Ọ dịbèghị̀ ọcha. Achọrọ m iji ego saa ya ahụ, ka ọ dị ọcha,” Bishop said in an interview with this reporter, Izunna Okafor, as he stretched hand for more wrap of money which he also unwrapped and continued raining them on Onyema.
Also speaking with this reporter in an interview, the food vendor, Ms. Onyema who hails from Enugu State said she was so surprise beholding the entire drama.
While noting that she started selling food since 2011, she said Bishop was one of his customers when she started new. She, however, recalled that at some points, life started becoming difficult for him that he even found it difficult to feed himself.
According to her, as a result of this, he, together with some of his friends, was coming to her shop to eat from time to time after which he would promise to give her money later but would not, only to come back again next time and order another food on credit. She said she stopped dunning him to pay her for food and even stopped expecting money from him whenever she served him food, having understood his condition; even though he was shy to explain to her.
Ms. Onyema confirmed lending Bishop the sum of N50,000 when he told her that he wanted to change environment to seek greener pastures elsewhere. She also confirmed having called him over time to know how he was faring and how life was treating him wherever he relocated to, only for him to be declining her calls, probably assuming that she was calling for her money. She said at a point he had to stop calling, to avoid being seen as a disturbance.
She, however, narrated that she was very surprised to see Bishop surface in her shop from nowhere in the morning during the weekend, begin to unwrap bundles of money and splash them on her, without uttering a word. Ms. Onyema said she couldn’t believe what was happening, until Bishop eventually began to explain after some minutes when people gathered to know what was going on, only for her to break down in tears of joy.
She also noted that she did similar thing for some other persons in similar condition, adding that she was doing it without expecting anything in return.
While Onyema spoke, more bundles of money continued to rain on her from Bishop.
In their separate reactions, onlookers and passersby, captivated by the dramatic scene, joined in admiration for Onyema’s unwavering generosity and benevolence. Their shared sentiment became a clarion call on everyone to embrace kindness and extend a helping hand to those in need. In a world often tumultuous, the reunion of Bishop and Onyema serves as a compelling testament to the enduring impact of compassion and the profound gratitude that can blossom from unexpected acts of benevolence.