It wasn’t like I’d go to his home and enjoy his vast collection of single malt whisky. Neither did I expect anything of him, but what a huge sense of loss with this devastating news that Bob Collymore is no more.
I ‘met’ him on Twitter amidst banter with Gina Din and Jeff Koinange. From there on began a friendship that made me smile every time his name was mentioned. Quick-witted, funny, kind, generous, thoughtful, and so much more. That is who Bob is to me.
Besides coming over to my workplace to drop off fancy chocolate for me and my kids (yes, he’s done this personally), Bob has most kindly done some magnanimous gestures without making them seem like the big deal that they always were.
My daughter’s laptop cable got busted. I couldn’t find one anywhere and tweeted for help. Bob was at some random airport, saw my tweet and bought for my daughter a universal laptop cable. There were also chocolates for the kids.
A couple of months after the Westgate incident where my kids and I were stuck, I bawled that my phone had been damaged badly and was on its last leg. Bob turned up at work with a brand new phone and left it with my then CEO Patrick Quarcoo saying it was a Diwali present for me. PQ asked me why his friend was giving me a phone and not him and I cheekily said I’m the more awesome friend.
It doesn’t stop there. Annually in January, I look for diaries and journals because I love jotting and sketching in them. I just had to ask once and I got a huge package with various Safaricom branded goodies ranging from diaries, calendars, pens and whatnot, to share with the kids.
I can go on and on.
Bumping into him every now and then was always a delight. He stopped to say hello and always asked after the kids. He would remember something I may have written in my column and then he would mention it. He made people feel important. He paid attention.
This morning when I got the message from Naomi, I sat in the bathroom and cried. I cried like I’d lost my brother. I don’t know what this connection was. It felt like my world was crumbling. I had the same dull ache in the pit of my stomach like when my Mum passed away.
I feel for his beautiful wife. He loved her immensely. I remember inviting them home for brunch and he called me to tell me of his wife’s dietary requirements due to allergies. I was so touched. He had his way of showing care and attention, and he never talked down to people.
I hope his children find strength to face this loss. If he could be an affectionate uncle to my kids, he must have been a great father to his own.
Today, I’ve been saddened by this huge loss. Never in my life did I think that after writing about Bob in earlier posts, I’ll be writing to share my love for him like that. I am grateful that we met. What a wonderful gentleman.
You’ll be missed Bob. May you rest in eternal peace.