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15 minutes to 4, Laura muttered, averting her gaze from the wall clock above the hotel bed. Slipping out of her shoes, she powered her iPad wondering how much she could do before nightfall. Good thing the meeting is not till tomorrow, she thought. A phone call and 15 minutes later, room service was on hand to deliver her meal. Murmuring her thanks, she continued to type furiously on her tablet, hardly noticing the attendant.
‘You are welcome ma’am, anything else I can do for you’? Laura’s head shot up as if remote controlled. There was something about the girl’s voice and tone. She sounded refined, cultured, almost familiar. Even her face, it had a softness that spoke of nurture, intentional care.
‘What’s your name’, Laura found herself asking.
‘Mildred’, the girl replied- eyes unsure, smile intact. As Laura observed her, she was more convinced. This girl was raised in circumstances beyond humble.
‘Why are you working here, where are your parents’?
The cheerful demeanour disappeared. Laura had clearly knocked on a sore wound. ‘My parents are late ma’am; I lost them to a car crash two years ago. I’ve since worked here, to save up for a part time university course and pay my brother’s school fees’.
‘Oh my, I’m so sorry. That’s a lot of load for your young neck; you can’t be more than 17, 18 at most. What about your family members? Uncles, aunties? Didn’t your parents leave a Will?’
The girl chuckled sadly. ‘They left a Will that would have adequately catered for us, but my paternal uncles wouldn’t agree. They chose to contest the will. They have been in court ever since. The lawyer advised us to look for alternatives while we await the court’s ruling; he said if my parents had secured their estate in a Trust, the court battle would have been avoided’.
Food and work forgotten, Laura stared at the girl, filled with compassion. She imagined her daughter- Princess in this situation; it broke her heart to just think of it. Resolved to help, she asked Mildred to come back the following day.
Long after the girl had left, Laura kept pondering. So a Will is not enough to secure her children’s future. Mildred’s lawyer had talked about a Trust. Isn’t that the same thing Kola, her colleague spoke about when he said he was partnering with ARM Trustees to ensure his kids get the best education come what may?
3:00 pm the day after, Laura’s meeting was done and she was on her way back home. An excited Mildred dragged the box behind her, grateful for the chance encounter. A week later, Mildred moved in with Laura as a live-in nanny while Laura fulfilled her promise of financing her university education. Finally, she was again on the path to a secure future.