Humbled Short Story

HUMBLED (Short Story)

Nkechi was getting impatient as the okada man searched for her N300.00 change. She had missed most of the church service for her friend Chiamaka’s wedding, that last Saturday in January, but she didn’t want to miss the photo session before the reception. She adjusted the red belt on her cream Vera Wang cotton-linen dress and smoothed out the creases on it from the ride as best as she could.

She was still smarting from the fact that she had to pay N200.00 for the short ride from her house to the church hosting the wedding but remembered with a note of mischief her abuse of the okada rider before climbing on his bike. She began to yell at him to hurry up. After another minute or so, he emerged from the provision store where he had gone to find the change.

As he briskly walked towards her, her new crush from the street adjacent her house, Obinna, approached in his sleek BMW. Nkechi self-consciously touched her gelled hair that was pulled into a curly attachment at the top but realised as he drove past that Obinna hadn’t looked at her. His attention was on the okada guy. “Mtcheew,” she hissed.

Presently, Obinna parked a few metres away and alighted from the car.

“Magical Mike,” he hailed.

The okada man looked up and his face broke into a smile. Obinna ran and hugged him. Nkechi momentarily forgot about the wedding. Her curiosity was piqued. She wanted to know what Obinna, a doctorate degree holder and university lecturer who had recently returned from Sheffield, had to do with an ordinary okada man. Their looks and dressing showed their different stations in life: Obinna was clean-shaven and spiffy in a green ankara jumpsuit and brown leather sandals while the okada man looked as people in his trade do during the harmattan season- bundled up in an old jacket and woollen cap.


Slinging the long strap of her red Givenchy purse across her left shoulder, Nkechi began a very slow counting of the change she had received in tiny denominations while eavesdropping on the conversation between the two young men.

But she could only do that for so long. To get the full gist, she walked over gingerly in her matching red, high-heeled, Sergio Rossi sandals, greeted Obinna and introduced herself as his neighbour, thus inserting herself into the midst of the two friends as their reunion unfolded.

Humbled Short Story

Long story short: They had been classmates at ESUT (Pol. Science) and the okada man had graduated at the top of the class. While Obinna’s parents sent him abroad for further studies, Mike bought a motorcycle with his convocation prize money to help him take care of his ailing mum and siblings while looking for elusive jobs.

Excited about meeting his old friend whom he’d lost touch with, Obinna invited him and the neighbourhood girl who seemed keenly interested in their stories to a nearby eatery for refreshments. Nkechi declined, satisfied that having met Obinna at close range, he would recognise and greet her henceforth.

Meanwhile, embarrassed at her earlier rudeness to Mike, she apologised. Her excuse, which was that she didn’t know he was a graduate, sounded lame even to her. She was yet to gain admission into the university herself but she didn’t entertain insults from anyone.

It seemed that working as a receptionist at a five-star hotel had warped her perspective, causing her to look down on people in blue collar work. She was humbled beyond words and offered to return the change to Mike, who thanked her for the gesture but refused to collect it. She had just been too conceited to know that many people are worth more than what you see on the surface, Nkechi told herself.


Now, she looks at people differently, taking time to answer greetings from everyone, greeting them first sometimes and generally being courteous, not just at her duty post, but everywhere.

-The end-

Ⓒ Edith Ugochi Ohaja 2021


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I am a university lecturer. I teach Mass Communication, mostly writing courses like Feature and Interpretative Writing, Magazine Article Writing and News Writing, and let’s just say I’ve been doing this for a long time. As you have probably guessed, I am a born-again Christian.

Latest posts by Edith Ohaja (see all)


  • Willie Albert Zikiye

    Humility is one of the piquant characteristics one should possess throughout life. Those who lack this precious trait often find themselves in tight corners. Ma, thank you so much.

  • Ossai Chidimma Linda

    Humility is a virtue rewarding but yet difficult for a lot of people to abide by. Respect has gone with the Sumner wind.

  • Ikea Joy Chiamaka

    I had a similar experience few months ago, minus the insults, of course. I boarded a public bus with my mom to go shopping in another town. The man sitting next to me tried severally to strike up conversation between us but I just wasn’t interested. At a point I resorted to blocking him out by using my earpiece to listen to music. He wasn’t bothering me, as a matter of fact, he just looked uninteresting so I didn’t pay attention to him. Few weeks later, I discovered that the man was in fact, one of the richest men in our town-a business mogul, no less. Now I’d like to think that I’m the kind of person who would have treated him the same regardless of his status, but I can’t honestly say that. Once in a while I think back to that encounter and wish I acted differently, maybe paid a little bit more attention to what he had to say.
    My point is, consciously or unconsciously, we tend to judge people based on their outward appearance and treat them accordingly. Oftentimes, we might even be justified. It would, however, be a better world if we treat everybody with as much respect as we would the most important people in our lives.

  • Enukora Onyedikachi Blessing

    Humility is one character that is hard to acquire. Man is an epitome of pride, sometimes even in death. But with the help of the Holy Spirit, it can be attained, and when one does, it becomes a second skin.

  • Onyekachi Obumneme Agbo

    It is not good to look down on people. The one you are looking down on today has the potential of becoming the best you look out for in a person tomorrow. Besides, we are all humans and discrimination is not supported by God. Many people are in manual jobs in this country, not because they don’t deserve or merit good-paying white collar jobs but because of the unemployment condition of the country. Our generosity to people should not be inspired by what we think we can benefit from them but because it is the right thing to do.
    Thank you, Ma. I’m blessed by this story.

  • Abiayi Ify

    Humility is very important in our daily living. That’s why the Bible says God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble. It pays to be humble. Jesus is a wonderful example of humility personified. Thank you so much ma for the reminder.

  • Ezeh chimezie Amos

    A normal human being shouldn’t look down on anyone no matter how the person dressed. Working as a receptionist at a five star hotel didn’t change Nkechi. Humility comes inbuilt in anyone that has it. Though you can still learn if you aren’t born with it.

  • Kooyon Abigail Aershimana

    Some people are funny 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣
    So if it weren’t for Obinna she wouldn’t have apologized to Mike. It’s so pathetic.
    People miss opportunities simply because of such mistakes N.K made.
    I know of someone who got a scholarship just because he greeted and stood up for an elderly woman to sit at a park…
    Blessings and rewards come from these things we see as little or take for granted.
    And even if they don’t, just do them because they’re the rightful things to do.
    I don’t know if there’s any religion that preaches violence, rudeness or disobedience?
    Let’s learn to be humble and respectful to people regardless of their sex, age, race, tribe, religion, backgrounds etc.
    What goes around comes around so don’t do to others that which if done unto you, you won’t like.

    • Wonderful admonition. Thank you, Abigail. I’ll soon start calling you Mother in Israel. But seriously, thank you very much.

      • Kooyon Abigail Aershimana

        Mother in Israel? 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣
        That got me. I’m sorry mummy but it sounds funny 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣
        Thank you much more ma for the wonderful work you’re doing here.
        You’re really training us on how to be humans because since the world is revolving, we tend to be revolving with it and hence we have lost value for one another (humanity).
        I must say you’re correcting this cynical attitude of ours and I so much love it.
        I absolutely don’t know where our generation is headed but I can bet that these are the kind of things we need to regain our sanity.
        God bless you abundantly and before I forget, Happy Easter!

  • Ugochi

    We should never be in a hurry to judge people’s situations. You do not know what they are going through until you walk in their shoes.

  • Egbo Paul Uchenna

    Life is a teacher.. And I think this story further buttresses this quote. “There’s more than meets the eye”

  • Ezeah Jennifer nnedinso

    Oh, what a touching story!

  • Onah Chidimma Vivian

    Yes people will respect you more based on your qualifications but I mean everyone deserves to be treated nicely. Lol she only saw fault in her behavior when Obinna spoke to him

  • This is such an interesting story, I wanted it to continue. If there’s one thing I’ve learnt in life, it’s that you shouldn’t try to tell a book by its cover, no matter the situation.

  • Amaugo, Stephanie Chidinma

    Wow, this is lovely! Regardless of your position in life, do not look down on people. Stay humble. Finally, it’s the little things that really matter. For instance, she should have politely requested for her change but no, she chose to talk to the okada man rudely. In addition to what you shared, humility brings upliftment. Just as James 4:10 “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.” Thank you Ma! God bless you

  • Ugochukwu Chah

    It pays to be humble and I am glad Nkechi learnt that and accepted it wholeheartedly.

  • Indeed, people are worth more than we see on the surface.

    Thank you so much Ma’am for this story.

    Happy Easter to you. ❤️

  • oforgu ifeanyi Augustine

    At that moment, I knew regret became a companion. But a lesson to be learnt; always put out your humble foot in each sphere you find yourself. Be nice…

  • Many people do not understand the simplicity in being simple. Humility is not faked or professed, it is tested. Tested in arguments, greeting, dressing, speaking and even serving punishment.

  • Paschal Odigonma Victoria

    Many of us have acted like Nkechi in one way or the other. Even belittling people we “believe” we are superior to because of age, status or class. We should all learn to be nice, physical appearance is just a modicum of who we are. There’s so much more within to discover when we are patient, nice and hospitable.

  • The story goes with the popular saying” Do not jugde the book by the cover’
    One should not be judged by their appearance .
    Also, we dont need to know much about a person’s reputation before deciding on how to address or treat him or her
    Do what is needful and right.

  • Great one ma, Nkechi learnt her lesson the hard way. humility is a virtue that is difficult to acquire. one can only pray for the wisdom and spirit of humility.

  • We really shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. People missed their opportunities by looking down on people. Most people even feign being humble when they are not. But I must say, humility is a difficult virtue to keep. I will try to be humble in life. Thanks for your reminder Ma.

  • Stephanie Ada Wakwe

    We should never judge a book by its cover.
    Discrimination is not the key to a healthy society,we should learn to see ourselves as equal in the society irrespective of our backgrounds.
    Thank you ma.

  • Aroh Anthonia Ifeoma

    We all should try as much as possible to accord people with their due respect. Youths especially are fond of this. Not greeting the cleaner, cab driver or bike man first can also be likened to this.

  • Humility they say is virtues,but we at some points find it difficult to keep.
    It pays to be humble and God lifts those who are humble.
    This story is nice and educative.
    Thanks Ma for letting us see this.

  • Ejiofor Emmanuel

    One of the most dominant traits that Jesus exhibited throughout his stay on earth was humility. When he washed the disciples feet, he showed humbleness. That is why every one who calls himself/herself a Christian should strive to be humble because that is one of the major characteristics a Christian should possess.

  • Offor Priscilla tobechi

    Thank you for ma for this wonderful message you have instilled in us, through it we have learnt a remarkable lesson. That we shouldn’t be disrespectful to the people no matter the status or class and that we should be humble to people and Christ also showed the examplary life of humility in the Bible when he washed his disciples’ feet. We should all emulate that kind of life and show kindness to the people we meet in our daily lives. Thank you and God bless.

  • Chukwukanne chinecherem winner

    Humility is very important in our daily life. We should learn how to respect people irrespective of how they dress or where we meet them and we should also know that first impression matters alot.

  • Humility is very important
    Same goes to respect

  • Maduabuchi Christiana

    Wow! God bless you ma,pride is the downfall of man. Let us try to be humble in this life and avoid looking down on people.

  • Anekwe Paschaline

    These days people tend to judge others according to the way they dress, speak or even the work they do. Most of them see themselves as people of class and label others classless forgetting that things are not always what they seem. Another insightful story once again Ma. Thank you

  • Williams Blessing Ngozi

    Pride is the downfall of every man.
    We should try as much as possible not to look down on anyone no matter the person’s status because everyone is worth something.

  • Wonderful! this article is worth reading and reading again. With this story I can understand that the personality and worth of a person isn’t measured by physical appearance. Thank you, ma.

  • Ezeobi Chisom Success

    This story has really proved that humility is a virtue….
    One must really strive to possess this outstanding quality.
    Also, one must never look down on others irrespective of the circumstance

  • Glory Oluchi

    This story is amusing. Someone who hasn’t gotten admission being rude to another whom she considers not to be a graduate. I’m sure it will take time before she recovers from that shock and I hope the experience humbles her forever

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