Since I joined the Multimedia Group in 2014, I’ve made very few friends. It isn’t because I’m an unfriendly person, no. It is simply because when it comes to friendship, I don’t know how to take the first step.
So normally I’ll allow the other person to ‘make the move’, and once that is done, I naturally ‘fall in place’.
This is exactly what happened between KABA and me.
One afternoon, my sweet tooth led me to Joy FM’s front desk in search of pastry chips and hibiscus drink, popularly known as ‘sobolo’.
The usually busy front desk was almost empty and Theo, one of the front desk executives was busily accounting for all the money she had made from the sale of books, tickets and other items, including the pastry chips and sobolo which are normally left for sale at the front desk.
Seated next to her was Kwadwo Asare Baffuor Acheampong-KABA-. He was hard to miss. So huge but never intimidating. He wore a gentle smile and that meant a lot to me, a lost soul who had just arrived in the biggest media house and now trying to find her feet. Every smile at that time was important no matter where or from whom it came.
I greeted both of them and requested for my pastry chips and sobolo. Unfortunately for me, the drink had run out, so it was left with only the pastry.
“The sobolo is finished but you’re lucky, I still have two more packs of chips, how many do you want?”Theo asked.
“Give me both, I said, while handing her a 50 cedi note.”
But she paused midway, when she saw the note and said she didn’t have enough smaller denominations for the GHS 46.00 she was supposed to give me as change.
Before any of us could come up with a solution to the problem, KABA offered to pay for me. This act of generosity surprised me, especially because that was my very first encounter with him and I least expected that he would act the way he did.
One might think that well, GHS4.00 is nothing, anyone could have done that. But no, GHS 4.00 is a whole lot coming from someone you did not know.
I don’t think that KABA offered to pay the money because he had more than enough. He paid because that was who he was; selfless, kind and generous. If his smile was comforting, his act of kindness humbled me.
There are many people who have enough money to last them a lifetime but may never let go a pesewa for anything or anyone if they were not going to benefit from it in return.
I have no shred of doubt that many other people have benefited from KABA’s act of generosity and selflessness. That one act towards me etched a space for him in my heart and even though we never were ‘real’ friends, every time I met him in the office, my hello and his hello in return was one full of smiles and warmth.
I’d not seen him in a while, but last Wednesday, when I stepped out of the office to buy some fruits in front of the Joy FM car park, he was seated in a car in front of the Joy FM building and as I passed by, I said my usual “hello” and he responded with an affectionate “hello” in return as we smiled at each other.
So my heart was broken and left in complete distraught when Matilda – another colleague – called to inform me that KABA had passed.
It was especially heart breaking for her because on Thursday while she waited for a driver to take her home, the usually lively KABA came teasing her about a rumour that she was dating one of the reporters.
When she told him that the rumour was just what it was, a rumour, he advised that instead of smiling about it anytime she was teased, she should make it a point to drum home the fact to anyone who teased her.
As we both read about the news on the Joy News team’s WhatsApp platform, Matilda wept and I struggled to hold back my tears.
After a while, she dried her tears and narrated her last encounter with the late afternoon show host and we both laughed at how it all happened.
Aside his act of kindness towards me, I barely knew much about him. His radio programme on Asempa FM, ‘Ekosi S3n’ is loved by many, including taxi and trotro drivers who never tuned their dial off 94.7 FM.
He was loved by many and loathed by others. For the kind of job we do, we have no permanent friends or enemies. Depending on season, friends become enemies and enemies become friends. Even the few ‘enemies’ could not afford to miss the 2PM sigtune on Asempa FM every week day on Ekosii Sen.
So here I am, full of regrets, pain for not getting to know him beyond my usual hello. That one act of kindness from a man who barely knew me at the time, should have drawn me somewhat closer to him like many others in the office, but the ‘I struggle to make friends’ bit of me held me back from knowing him more.
My heart aches for your family, KABA, but more for your wife of just a year. Death has ripped out her heart and like a shot from behind, it hit where it could taking away her love who was far too young, far too good. It didn’t pretend to care, it didn’t distinguish.
I don’t know how she will cope knowing that you will never be together again in this life.
My only prayer is that she is comforted by the fact that you have gone to a good place and that one day you will be reunited in the place where there is no sorrow, weeping, heart break or ache but only joy and love.
I am broken because your lovely daughter will not grow to experience that amazing man that you are. But I hope she finds joy in knowing that her father touched many hearts.
I pray that God wipes away every tear from their eyes.
Until we meet again, KABA, rest, rest well in the bosom of our Lord.