UBER and Grab Stories: My Daily Rides

By Elie - 5:30 AM

Days since my last post: 5 

Perhaps I'm a little late on this bandwagon, but there has been so much negative press on UBER recently that I just thought people should cut them some slack. Sure something bad happened and it was all most unfortunate but let's not forget that there are a whole lot more people out there who are genuine UBER and Grab drivers trying to make a living for their family. So let's put that one piece of trash aside; and don't get me wrong I don't mean to ignore it complete - but rather to also focus on the positive side to things... and that is that ride-hailing is still one of the best ways to get around.

I suppose before this I've always had lots to say about UBER and Grab, but felt like I wasn't in a position because I didn't sit in them nearly enough to mention anything. Now however, I ride in one almost every single day because I can't drive to work. It's a long story, really and you don't want to hear it. Rather, I'd like to share on the stories I do hear from the drivers who pick me up day in and day out - each with their own and most times interesting as can be.

Uncle Ong 

I have to admit that it was Uncle Ong who got me thinking that I should be sharing my UBER stories, because I felt like everyone had their own story to tell. You see, I'm not one for silent car rides and so I try hard to strike up conversations with my drivers. It usually just starts with my signature question: Are you doing this full time? Most times, they're not - just like Uncle Ong here. 

This is a retired man who has worked his entire life since he was a teenager, and is now a part-time UBER driver. I then asked why he chose to drive an UBER when he should really be doing retired people things like enjoying life. In his very words that still rings in my ears, Uncle Ong said, "Uncle has been working all my life and when I suddenly stopped, I couldn't get used to it. First month and I nearly got depression because my life was just about eating and sleeping." Someone then got him on UBER and now he drives when he feels like it, then goes home to rest when he's tired. 

Uncle goes on to talk about how retired people really needs hobbies and his current one is to go around picking people up. He meets all sorts of people; the tired ones, the rude ones, the friendly ones, the weird ones... and the list goes on. Uncle Ong also made me realize that there is very little market for retired people in the lower income sector, because if you had the money you'd be able to travel and enjoy life just a little. So what of the community like us who has done nothing but work all our lives? Points to ponder, really. And I'm still figuring it out. 

Mr. Grab

Unfortunately I never caught this guy's name as it was my other half who ordered the car for me but I know for sure that he was operating on Grab instead. I have to say I had reservations about him because he looked rather shabby and unshaven that I got fairly worried. I later learned however that he was nice as can be, and again he was only a part time driver. Instead, he was a freelance special education teacher who teaches autistic children specifically. 

I learned so much in this car ride, from differentiating children that have low functioning autism to those with high functioning autism. I learned about what Tourettes Syndrome is, and I also learned about Aspergers' Syndrome. It was all very interesting, and I finally learned that being a teacher is such a thankless job - especially if you're teaching autistic children with parents who think teachers can perform magic. I guess I regret that I never caught his name, but if he would ever come across this post and ever remember me, I'd just like to say thank you to him on behalf of all the parents who never did. 

Abang Salahuddin

To be honest when UBER first paired me with Abang Salahuddin, I had half a mind in me to cancel on him because he only had a rating of 4.6 stars on him and regularly I take nothing less than 4.8 stars. But there I was, a little too stingy to pay an extra RM 5 on cancelling and also having a battle with time. And I'm glad that all panned out well. Abang Salahuddin turned out to be the most concerned UBER driver I've ever met, giving me an earful first when he picked me up because I waited for him at a more convenient location with lesser people as opposed to the bus station where more people were at. 

We talked about the UBER case obviously, and he told me that we should never trust people - not even him albeit that I was in his car. He told me to take a screenshot of his details and send it to my other half just to keep myself safe, and drove me right to the doorsteps of my office building despite me telling him not to because it was a hassle. We talked about how he only did UBER as a part-time stint because other times his back would hurt, and then just life in general. I'm glad I took this trip in the end, and gave him his very deserving 5 star rating together with a big thank you. Sometimes all you need to do is appreciate what you're given. 

Well hey, my rating went up! 

Ultimately, I am no perfect rider though I try to be. Sometimes listening to these UBER and Grab stories makes it easy for you to remember that keeping our heads up is important because everyone out there has their own story. Listening lets your drivers know that you somehow care as well, because maybe that's why they're driving. To meet someone new who would listen to them. And this is where I'd like to help you listen. If you haven't quite tried UBER or Grab, I'd like you to have these codes for FREE rides on both, and hopefully you'd find your own story to tell as well. 

UBER: uberxelie
Grab: elie56594

Good things must be shared, right? Right. 

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