I once ran out of airtime at a critical moment and really needed to make a call. I sent my boyfriend a Please Call Me (thank you Nkosana Makate for inventing that, by the way, and good luck with getting your billions).
My dutiful boyfriend called me right back and told me he was at the taxi rank and would quickly run to the shop to buy an airtime voucher and call me back.
I waited patiently for a while and, when he finally called me, I could hear he was in the taxi. I could hear the driver’s music blaring and people chatting around my boyfriend.
“Sorry Baby, let me read out these airtime numbers to you.”
He read through the numbers slowly, and then repeated them for me while I wrote them in pen on a till slip.
“Thank you Sweetie,” I told him, thanking him for the R100 of airtime.
But when I entered the numbers, I was told by MTN that the voucher was not valid.
I thought there had to be some mistake, so I entered the numbers again.
Nope, no cigar.
I sent another Please Call Me to my boyfriend and, when he called me back, I was half-hysterical.
“Why’s my airtime not working! Did you buy it from some spaza shop crook or what?”
He told me he had no idea what was going on and started speaking slowly: “Baby … are you sure … you put the numbers in … properly?”
“Of course I put the bloody numbers in properly!”
We had a bit of a fight about it and hung up.
About 10 minutes later, my boyfriend called me again and said he now had a pretty good idea of where my airtime had gone.
“When this guy at the back of the taxi jumped out, he waved his old phone at me, and, with a big grin said, ‘Thank you, Mfana! Thank you, thank you!”
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