It was on a Friday afternoon and all I had was 200 shillings between me and poverty. This would not have been much of a problem on a normal day but I had made plans to go out with a couple of friends whose opinion really mattered to me at the time. There was no way I was going to cancel my plans. I had to get money somehow.
My parents sent me money at the beginning of every week so I could not ask of them to send me money on a Friday. If I asked my boyfriend for some funds, he would agree and then go silent for the rest of the day. There was no one else to ask. That was when I decided that I was going to steal.
I had absolutely no idea how I was going to do it: all I knew was that I needed the money and I was going to get it before nightfall. Being nervous and stressed out, I went back to my room from school to lie down and clear my head. No one else was there. I was in the process of climbing the ladder to my bed when I noticed my bed mate’s phone lying on her bed. My plan came together in an instant.
I keyed in her password, which I knew from sharing phones with her frequently, and went directly to the Mpesa messages. Her last transaction had left her with 3,000 shillings. That would do just fine. I snuck the phone into my pocket and rushed downstairs to withdraw the money at the nearest Mpesa Agent. I knew that she used one password for everything so I was not worried about not getting the money.
The lady at the agent shop was fond of me so she just gave me the money without asking for the ID number. I rushed back to the room and returned the phone after deleting the transaction message. My roommate came back about an hour later. She found me dead asleep. She woke me up in a frenzy and I asked her what the fuss was all about. She had tried to buy airtime on her phone only to realize that her Mpesa was empty.
To try and prevent myself from looking guilty, I told her that maybe someone had hacked into her phone or something. I was very apologetic. She refused to let the matter go and insisted to visit the Safaricom customer care centre in town. She requested me to accompany her and I obliged. Turning her down would only raise suspicion.
When we got there and explained what had happened, an attendant pulled her transaction history. It showed that someone had withdrawn 3,000 shillings in the evening and it gave the name of the Mpesa agent used. We thanked the attendant and left. My bedmate said that our next step would be to check all Mpesa agents around school because that was the location given by the customer care attendant. She just wouldn’t quit!
My heart was pounding inside my chest and I could feel the guilt and worry begin to creep into my face. I was surely going to get caught. I followed my friend dutifully and prayed that I go scotfree this once. I would never try anything like it again.
We asked around from one shop to another without success. I was beginning to feel pretty lucky. However, it was not long before we got to the Mpesa Agent where I had done the transaction. What was I supposed to do, run away? Confess? I stood there dumbfounded as she explained herself to the lady and was only startled by my friend pulling at my shirt in anger. “She says that it was you, ” she repeated again and again as if trying to convince herself otherwise.
I could see the pain in her eyes from the betrayal she felt. Tears started trickling down my face as I reached into my pocket for the money. I had not spent a shilling. I gave it to her and walked away, my head turned downwards in shame. I had lost a good friend because of my greed. Will she ever forgive me?