On the first Africa World Airline flight that landed in Tamale that Tuesday morning, there was a man whose outfit should have suggested that he was an important somebody. But it was a day of the Eid-ul-Adha and so it was not uncommon to see men dressed elegantly in flowing gowns, similar to the one worn by the man in this photograph.
He was wearing a mask, so not many would recognise him. Even if he had had a customised head like that of Anny Kareem-Abdi Osabutey, the Jacob Zuma-like contours would have been wrapped in a hat, further masking his identity.
On the flight, he occupied the right side of the seats, which had a single seat. Adjacent to him was the first row on the left side of the aircraft, which had two passengers.
As with boarding airplanes, one sometimes has to wait for some time while others stuff the overhead compartments with carry-on luggage before sitting. It was while I waited in the boarding traffic that I eavesdropped the conversation between this man and the woman to his right side even though I had move behind them.
The woman greeted him and he responded heartily, perhaps, paving the way for her request that would follow.
The woman was traveling with her daughter, about 8 years old. Her daughter was drowned in the seat behind the man. The woman wanted this man to vacate his seat and trade places with her daughter so that she could have her eyes on her during the flight.
This isn’t an extraordinary request, but the enthusiasm and love with which the man did it lighted my heart.
“Oh sure,” he said and got up before the woman finished her request.
“Princess,” he called the little girl, “please, come and sit here,” he said, and helped the girl to his previous seat before taking his new seat.
Sometimes, it isn’t the big things that matter. The little acts of kindness we show to our fellow humans and how we do them demonstrate our respect for humanity, especially when the actor is a person in a leadership position. The do-you-know-who-I-am? arrogance people carry around doesn’t make us any better.
This man I’m talking about is the immediate past CEO of the National Petreoleum Authority, the incumbent NPP Member of Parliament for Gushiegu and Deputy Minister of Transport, Hassan Tampuli.
Sir, if you had been arrogant, someone would have noticed and talked about it somewhere. And I feel I should draw your attention to this one too, especially when you didn’t do it for the cameras or for votes.
That was an Honourable act. Keep it up.