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A Cup of McDonald’s Hot Chocolate … And Finding My Voice

For me, few things can beat a cup of hot chocolate.
Maybe, apart from a bar (or more) of white chocolate. Starting to digress already …

hot-chocolate

But anyway, exactly two years ago, I had cause to be in one of the McDonald’s branches.
I remember it was evening (OK, night) and I was on my laptop. I had my ear-phones in.
McDonald’s has wi-fi …

So, I’m sitting there, when these two black guys come up to ‘my’ table and ask if they can sit there. I give them a “Sure, I don’t really care” gesture. They sit down and start talking to each other. After a while, one of them says, “Sorry, I hope we’re not disturbing you?”
I go, “Nope. I can’t hear what you’re saying; I’m busy and have ear-phones in.”
The second one asks me if I’m looking forward to New Year’s Eve. I say, “No. It’s all the same to me.”
So, he asks, “What do you do, that it’s all the same to you?”

Now, the thing is – a fair number of people in the UK actively look forward to NYE, because they get time off from work. I don’t have such a luxury.
So, I say to them, “I’m a writer.”
One goes, “Oh” and the other looks slightly interested. I show them my blog, and my book. And they’re like, “Oooooh, you’re a real writer.”

Apparently, some people who have no idea what they’re doing with themselves, just drift about, calling themselves ‘writers’.
No, I’d no idea. It’s just …

Anyway, I vaguely remember them asking me where I was originally from. There might have been a grimace, when I said, “Nigeria”. They also asked me what the book was about. I told them.
Then, the first one said he just knew someone who would love to meet me. She was a radio presenter and with the things I was passionate about, I would be right up her street. He gave me her contact details and they left.

It wasn’t till February of the following year, that I actually took action.
Sent the radio presenter an email, after I’d given her a call. I remember it was a Saturday in February. Her name was Yishibah Gavriel and the name of the radio station was One Harmony Radio.

When she called me back – after reading my email and seeing the attachments – we agreed on a day for me to attend the radio station. The following Thursday, the pre-recorded session was broadcast. Then, she called me.

Asked me if I’d listened to the interview. I answered in the affirmative.
Asked me what I thought of it. I wasn’t sure if there was anything I should think.
Then, told me that a retired BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) correspondent happened to be listening in. And he had wondered about me. Wondered who I was. Wondered if I’d had any media training (I hadn’t; I haven’t). Then, asked her to look for me and bring me back into the studio – he was convinced that I had been sitting on the wrong side of the table. He thought I had a presenter’s voice.

FTFY

I was stunned, but I didn’t realise that it was any kind of deal – never mind, a big deal.
I know that the older generation in the media, have no respect for the newer ones – let’s just say that the term ‘auto-cutie’ is not supposed to be a compliment.
So, to have a member of the older generation media say, “There’s something about that voice” was a bit surreal.

I showed up at the station, did another promotional interview. I’d no idea that the owners of the station were listening in a different room.
I got offered my own radio show. On-air.
Few things have dumbfounded me, like that.

I decide to co-present a show, first. I’d had absolutely no training before that time.
But the (maybe?) weird thing was that – the Xmas of 2013, I’d sat alone with my computer, typing out my hopes for the following year. I get like that sometimes; where I’m not 100% conscious of what I’m writing. When I finished and took a look at the document, getting into radio was one of the things on the list that I’d written. I had no idea how that would happen.

We ended up co-producing and co-presenting a series on domestic violence – “Let’s Talk About It”.
The experience changed my life in ways that I did not even realise, were possible.
And it all started, because I wanted hot chocolate …

All Rights Reserved, Chioma Nnani

6 Comments on A Cup of McDonald’s Hot Chocolate … And Finding My Voice

  1. Wow! Another treat as usual.If opportunity doesn’t see a preparedness-receptor,it means nothing but “badluck”. And so you were ready,well trimmed and pruned;highly charged with the requisite knowledge ,even when you thought you weren’t ready,and then,it happened.I’ve learned that one simply need to be good and consistent in what you do because there seems to be a power that propels excellence to the apex,and it simply a matter of time and your world gets discovered. Good story.

  2. Brilliant!

  3. Ferdinard lawson // January 5, 2016 at 7:07 pm // Reply

    This is just beautiful to read. Knowing you, this is just the beginning. Very soon, you will be on the world media with your powerful ideas.

  4. An encouraging word to me. Thanks Chioma

  5. Ademoroti Funmi Ade // January 22, 2016 at 5:54 pm // Reply

    This is inspiring to say the least.

  6. This is very inspiring. Worthy of note to me is the fact that when the first link in the opportunity chain (the two guys at McDonald’s) chanced upon you, you were on duty. And though ‘not prepared’ for that radio show, you were actually well prepared for radio. This beautiful article tells me “keep at it, excellently, whatever it is that you do. For opportunity never announces before showing up at your table.”

    Thank you for sharing.

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