I returned from Makurdi Benue State to catch a flight to Paris during one of my visits to Nigeria. I had only two days left to depart. I figured, I should apply for a Nigerian ATM card; therefore, I decided to go into United Bank for Africa (UBA) Nigeria, AP Plaza, Wuse 2, Abuja, Nigeria to do it.

When I entered the bank, I was dressed very casual. I met two customer relations officers in their seats. I walked to the first lady (not this one in this picture) when it was my turn to be seen. The first customer relation officer started helping me, but had to ask her colleague seen in this picture to help me to the finish. On this day, the pessure coming from impatient clients was high. To make matters worst, the bank had an obnoxious and extremely rude supervisor on duty. This supervisor was pregnant – I found out later. Perhaps, she was having some pregnancy related issues, I wasn’t sure.

At one point into the whole process, another pretty Yoruba lady, who handles the BVN operations in the bank had to attend to me. She was quite friendly and interacted very kindly with me. Later, I was asked to go back to this lady in this picture. She did all she could and asked that I return the next day to pick up my card; not very pleased, I said, alright and left.

The next day, I returned to the bank just as I was planning to fly out to Paris 6 hours later. I was at the bank and the card was not ready. I was unhappy, but did not express it. This customer relations officer again asked that I return to pick the card at 3:00 PM. Meanwhile, the bank was going to close at 4:00 PM. My flight was at 11:55PM. I became apprehensive, but calm. I left the bank and returned at 3:00 PM to the obnoxious bank supervisor, who rudely walked away instead of completing her portion of the process, which was the last thing I needed. This customer relations officer who was now apparently caught between her supervisor and I, was visibly irritated because I had been a well-behaved and patient client. At this point, not knowing where I came from and where I was headed, I told her I will need to travel out of Abuja later that day, and I will appreciate getting my card before leaving. Just about 15 minutes to 4:00 PM, this customer relations officer went to the back office to call on the supervisor to come complete the process, but she refused to come out, claiming she wasn’t feeling well. I was startled, appalled beyond belief and angry at this point. This customer relations officer decided to call on another supervisor of their bank system, who was about 10 minutes drive away from her branch, to activate the card for me.

When the other supervisor agreed to help out, we drove there in the company of three other persons, who were with me. When we got there, the branch had closed their gates, but we were allowed in because of this kind customer relations officer, who wanted to help me out. My card was activated. I gave her taxi money to get back to her branch when she was ready to leave, she declined and said, she just did her job. I begged her to accept it, she declined. Determined to appreciate her professional kindness, I asked for phone number to reach out to her later, she also declined and said, if there was any need to contact me regarding my account status, the bank will reach out to me at the number (Nigerian number) which I left for the bank when I started my ATM application process. I thanked her and left.

I went to the airport, but I missed my flight that night. Perplexed and unhappy, I left the airport and rebooked my flight to leave on the next available flight scheduled for two days later.

Finally, I arrived in Paris safely. As I was going to catch another flight to New York, I received a call but the number was not showing on my phone, the caller was this customer relations officer. She called with a blocked number to tell me that the bank was trying to reach out to me because I needed a certain balance in my type of account, otherwise, the ATM won’t work. She said, she had to pay in some money into my account so the card will work and I can refund her as soon as I can. At this point, I was beyond impressed with her extreme kindness and for the first time, I revealed to her that I was in Paris and headed to New York. I requested that she send me her names and bank account information through my listed email for me to refund her.

When I arrived New York, I promptly transferred her money with some extra change to appreciate her. After that day, I occasionally emailed her to check on her. Much later, I was able to get her phone number shortly after she came out of a long distance relationship that wasn’t working. Though I knew she became single, I was not interested in her at all. I continued to offer her useful advise when there was a need.

Two years later, I needed to get married, she then occurred to me. I reached out and skillfully verified she was single. On another visit to Nigeria, I decided to proposed to her. Today, this professional and benevolent customer relations officer is NKEM.

Since I became her husband, I have tried to be very helpful like washing dishes, cleaning the house, cooking emptying the garbage, cleaning the bathroom; I do groceries, I do laundry and I ensure that she is always fine. Part of the reasons that I do these things – besides providing for her, is not only to fulfil my obligations as a husband, but it is to continue to repay her great act of kindness that captured my attention.

My friends, Abubakar Auwal Muhd Gamjee and Abba Kyari call her the UBA lady, who stole their friend’s heart.

If you can’t be anything, be #KIND!

Story by: Emakoji Ayikoye

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