In our everyday life, we meet people of different ages, statuses, religion, and so on. Usually, when we meet a new person, we ‘size them up’ and conclude right there that this one deserves a warm handshake or just a “hi”. At this stage, people use stature to guess someone’s status. This has not proven to be correct most of the time, as many have big stature but with low status and vice versa.
For someone like me with a young face and stature, I have been treated unfairly by some persons who did not know that my age and status were not as low as they thought. At times, I receive this kind of treatment with smile but honestly, it hurts sometimes.
What brought about this topic was my experience with the Late Dr Oluyombo Awojobi, a rural surgeon in South West, Nigeria but with global relevance. I visited his clinic in August 2013 after a trip to Malaysia and was very impressed by all he had achieved. He personally took me and other colleagues around his hospital facilities. I kept wondering why this highly talented man would choose to live permanently in a rural place like Eruwa, Ibarapa local government area of Oyo State. He dressed very simple and not a flambouyant man. If anyone saw him, they might think he’s just a “common” person but he was not. But guess what, he was well respected and recognized by people who matter but he didn’t look it.
The unfortunate thing is that many have lost good opportunities by treating other people of perceived low social status with disdain. I was at a meeting recently and a friend introduced me to his friend whom I had not met before. He said “….meet Taiwo”. The guy looked at me and greeted me casually. The one introducing me went ahead to say “Taiwo is …..” Immediately, the guy offered me his hand. I warmly shook hands with him and started a conversation. In my heart, I was unsure why the new “friend” did that, although without much surprise as I have experienced that severally.
The story is this, many great people of today were once of low estate. No one believed they could rise to their present status, including they themselves. They didn’t know they could reach their present level of achievement but somehow they are there. Those who treated them badly when they were poor would not have the confidence to walk up to them now that they are successful.
Finally, there is a set of people that you cannot afford to treat badly. These are the young people. This is because these guys can become anything in life. They may become Governors, CEO of big companies, the President of your country or whatever thing they choose. Although it is difficult to predict the future of anyone, it is almost impossible to predict what a young person can become. Therefore, we must be conscious of the way we treat everyone we meet today not because of whom they now are but because of what they may become.