Since the gone-horribly-wrong acquisition of Grab by Uber, I thought I’ll share some anecdotes from the private drivers I have encountered throughout Asia since 3 years ago.
As Kuala Lumpur has one of the worst taxi drivers and barely there public transportation, I can only be the most loyal and regular patron of both Grab and Uber.
To give you context, I do my groceries and errands once every 3 days, I take Uber / Grab. My daughter goes to a regular playgroup every week, we take Uber / Grab. Since I don’t drive, Uber / Grab is my only mode of transport in KL. So yes, I must say I am a strong supporter of freelancing private drivers.
From point A to point B always allow me to chat up with drivers of different age, race, and background. And one of the things I love to ask is their stories. I’m sure that they have lots to tell and I’m right!
*All admissions are anonymous and not in their real names.
I picked up a drunken Caucasian guy in the middle of the night, just at the end of my last trip. He was so drunk, he fell asleep in my car. As a lady driver, I don’t have the strength to carry him out even when we reached his destination. So I just drove around until he is sober.
It was another 2 hours meaningless drive around but he was just as happy that he did not end up in a police station. And as tired as I am, I was happy that he is safely back home. On the plus side, I managed to earn a lot from that customer.
One of my most memorable customers is a young lady who boarded my car at 7pm. She didn’t say much except to ask if I can randomly drive around the city. I can tell that she is upset about something so I didn’t want to argue much even though I haven’t had my dinner yet.
As I drove around, she was silent most of the journey, looking out of the window. Every now and then, a sob will escape from her. I’m a father of two daughters and it’s affecting me to see that she is so sad. At the end of the journey after 3 hours, when I dropped her at her destination, I quietly advised her not to think so much. She smiled, thanked me and said there’s nothing much anyone can help her.
I wished she can open up to me, maybe she needs a listening ear but I know better than to pry.
The worst ones are the couples who display public affections at the back seat of my car. I don’t know where to look! One couple proceeds to make out and the girl even took off her top. Raunchy! At the end of the ride, the couple forgot to retrieve her bra and I had some explaining to do when my wife found it the next day. I had to sleep in the living room for a week because my wife didn’t believe my explanation. Ouch!
I meet a lot of different people from all walks of life, being a private driver. At one time I was despondent because I just had been let go for my full-time job from my company because we aren’t making any money. Well, they say when a door closes, another will open.
One of my passengers having heard my story during a long ride to the airport offered me a job in his company. To my surprise, when I turned up for the interview, I was offered a higher role with a much higher pay than my previous one! The passenger is actually the owner of the company. I’m so happy and grateful that everything turns out alright for me.
Someone carelessly dropped her wallet in my car and I only found out when I was on my way back home, only stopping for petrol. Guessing that the owner might be anxious over the lost wallet, I called every customer I picked up that day.
True enough, it was my last customer and I hurried over to her place to return her wallet even though she mentioned that she can get it from me tomorrow. I just want to have a peace of mind, knowing that the wallet is returned to the rightful owner. I was surprised when she invited me into her home for dinner because she guessed that with the rush hour, I probably hadn’t eaten anything. It was a simple but nice gesture.
Turns out her husband is my primary school classmate and the dinner became a reunion of some sort.
I was driving a young man from school one afternoon when my car suddenly died. It turns out that my battery is dead. The teen called his dad for help and his dad apparently worked in a car mechanic shop, came with a tow truck! He fixed my car without charges and of course, there wasn’t any charge for the ride since I couldn’t complete it.
One Sunday afternoon, I picked up an old man in the lobby of a hotel and started driving towards the airport. He looked to be around in his eighties. He didn’t speak much during the hour-long journey but something didn’t feel right. He didn’t have a luggage with him and he was sort of wearing old pajamas with unkempt hair.
After he alighted, as I was hanging around, waiting for my next ride, I scrolled through Facebook. There was a post on someone’s father who was having Alzheimer’s disease and had wandered off from his hotel room. I was shocked! The photo posted was the same old guy that was in my car 10 mins earlier. I messaged the poster and received a call almost right away. I parked my car and went into the airport, hoping to find the old man.
Eventually, he was found by his daughter, sitting right in the airport’s Starbucks, looking very confused. All is well.
My car is a seven seater and I often get large group requests. I don’t usually turn down any requests however, one memorable incident, I had to turn down a ride request from a mother. I arrived at her address and she loaded not one, not two but six young children without any car seats.
When I politely turned her down, I certainly did not expect the spew of vulgar language that follows. And in front of the kids! OMG! I wouldn’t and couldn’t allow someone like her to verbally abuse me and I don’t want to retaliate against a female, more so a mother so I just kept my silence and drove off.
Heard any interesting stories from your Uber / Grab driver? Please come and share it with us in the comments below.
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