It happened last week Tuesday. The head of security at the estate where I reside decided he was going to hold the residents to ransom. Apparently, majority of the residents in the estate were owing significant sums of money to the security men. Eventually he decided that the embarrassment route was the best way to go to make all debtors pay.
I happened to be one of the debtors. Ever since the photography conference we organized in May, I’ve been unable to pay my outstanding with them as I had to resolve matters with other debtors that were sending me threats. I had explained my case to the head of security at least twice in the last 4 weeks. My total debt was now N12k (at N4k per month). On this faithful day, he would take us all by surprise.
I got to the estate gate by 7:15am on my way to drop my children in school only to see that the gate was barricaded and my security pal was standing at the entrance. “Oga, we no dey open gate for people wey never pay their dues,” he blurted out.
“Good morning sir. You know if I have, I’ll pay you…I don’t have it yet…once I get it, you’ll get paid,” I pleaded with him. Truth be told, I had just N1050 left with me that day and was even ready to take him to my ATM so he could see my account balance. Over 70% of funds that had been coming into my account had gone to settling some of the 25 vendors I owed (interestingly the most soothing words of encouragement during this time came from my mum when she told me that it was a good thing that the vendors allowed me to owe them because only people with good credit & goodwill are usually allowed to owe such big debts….I pray my goodwill account doesn’t run into deficit)
15 seconds later, I was taken aback when he grudgingly opened the gate and allowed me to pass along with my daughters. He even waved my daughters goodbye. Once again, I had benefited from implementing some principles I learnt from Dale Carnegie (How to win friends & influence people) & Herb Cohen (You can negotiate anything). One thing I have learnt over the years is not to talk to people anyway, especially those that seem to be of a lower social status.
Returning to the estate at 8am, there stood a woman with her 2 sons at the same gate arguing with the security man. The woman was calling the security man all sort of names: You must be stupid, you idiot, who gave you the ordasity (hope I’m right with the spelling of that) to embarrass us this way….. She went on and on in insulting the man. The irony of the it was that she’s one of those that owes the largest debt. If I were in her shoes, I would resort to pleading with him as against insulting the gateman while her 2 sons watched the free tuesday morning nollyhood movie.
2 hours later, she was still at the gate. The gateman was bent on not allowing her to pass until she made payment. It was then I was reminded by my subconscious that people like this security man are more powerful than they look. I know the jobs I’ve gotten as a result of befriending people like that. In one scenario, a “door woman” recommended me to her sister in Abuja who happened to be an event planner who happened to be planning the wedding of one of the senators of the House of Assembly. The wedding would turn out to be one of the most interesting I’ve covered till date…..and that coming from the recommendation of someone other people look down on.
According to my branding consultant, this ordinarily shouldn’t be something I should be writing about as it might send a message that connotes that Seun isn’t a BIG BOY after all. The message I want this to send however is for us to be conscious and deliberate about how we treat people of lower economic or social status. Be careful of how you treat or talk to that gateman, househelp, cook, driver or people you think are less important. You’ll be surprised the doors they can open or close for you depending on how you treat them. You’ll be very surprised…
Plan to take a photography course at eloPhotos Academy. Visit eloPhotos Academy for a detailed list of options of classes to take. It will be the best investment you’ll make in your journey to photography greatness