VIRAL: The Malaysian Grab Rider Who Went Beyond the Call of Duty

Get your tissues ready…

It’s tough being a “delivery rider”: the heat and heavy rain, impatient customers, long hours, road dangers, being expected to smile and be courteous despite all that and then, being given the wrong information…

When Malaysian Grab user, Vijaya Kasinathan placed an order for dinner via the app a few weeks ago, she mistakenly selected the location of her office in Cheras, Kuala Lumpur when she was already comfortably at home in Puchong, Selangor some 25 kilometres away. Vijaya called the delivery rider, Azrul, to tell him about the blunder and asked him to keep the food for himself.

Azrul really could have called it a night, but he was worried that Vijaya would not have anything to eat and took it upon himself to send the meal to her home anyway. The journey from Cheras to Puchong isn’t the most pleasant nor quick one. But determined he was, and he arrived at Vijaya’s 40 minutes after the call, not expecting any further remuneration.

As Vijaya recounted in a Linkedin post two weeks after the incident, she was “bowled over” by the youth’s “courtesy and dedication”, and gave him a 100 ringgit tip inside an envelope. He left and went to the petrol station to fill up his tank, opened the envelope, and promptly returned to Vijaya’s to try and return the money, saying “What you have given me is too much”.

Vijaya insisted that he keep the money: “Listen son, no one can put a value to what you just did for me. Please accept this… go buy yourself something nice”.

Azrul posing with Vijaya’s mum, who was also touched by the young man’s actions.

The Linkedin post has since gone viral, garnering over 19,400 likes, more than 780 comments and has been shared across social media platforms.

Since the start of lockdowns and the increasing reliance on delivery riders, there has been a growing sense of appreciation towards this segment of frontliners during the pandemic. In June of last year, after the country’s first lockdown, Grab revealed that users had given over RM2.4 million in tips to their drivers and riders via the tipping function on the app, a 75% increase compared to pre-MCO (Movement Control Order). Users in the Klang Valley area, where Cheras and Puchong are located, are the most frequent tippers, although the most generous tippers, based on the highest average tip per booking, live in Kuala Terengganu, a city on the East Coast of Peninsular Malaysia.

If you’re not from around here, you would appreciate the significance of this if you know that tipping is not a part of the local culture, and users already pay a sales and service tax for using Grab Food services, although this goes to the government and not the delivery rider. With our third lockdown starting today, hopefully, more of these “feel-good”, hope-filled stories will fill our news feed, rather than more misinformation about vaccines or apathetic CEOs in the face of disasters.

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