Disabled, old but not broken e-hailing drivers

15 Feb 2020 / 14:03 H.

GEORGE TOWN: Full-time e-hailing driver Tan Chee Thye, 47, may be deaf, but it does not stop him from working hard to make ends meet for his family of six.

He used to work in his mother’s coffee shop, but did not earn much for himself since he was working in a family business.

“Last time, I used to borrow money from my mother, but since I started working Grab, I do not have to anymore,“ he told Bernama in sign language which was translated by an SLI Expert Service sign language interpreter.

In December, 2017, he started working as a part-time e-hailing driver while helping his mother run her coffee shop, but decided to shift gears to full time after he got the green light from his whole family to earn a better income.

“I am really happy with my work now, because not only am I earning my own money, I also get to go out and drive around with little to no stress,“ he said.

Tan said he has no problems talking to passengers as Grab’s application provided an in-app communication guide for passengers to interact better with him.

He added that there were also other ways of communication including using in-car flip cards with commonly-used phrases or some passengers just tap on his shoulders to indicate the direction to take or destination they were heading to.

“I do not find it distracting when passengers want to communicate with me. I am used to it and can still focus on the road while driving,“ he added.

In the case of another e-hailing driver, Ooi Kok Toon, age is no barrier to his current job.

The 58-year-old ended a chapter of his life as a sales executive in October 2017, but found retirement boring. One month later, he was already working as a full-time Grab driver.

Ooi said he went back to work not just to earn money, but also to make friends while enjoying the adventure of driving to all sorts of places and meeting different passengers.

“One of the best things about my job was that I learn to speak many different languages and apply them in my work to greet passengers,“ he said before proudly showing off his mastery of the Thai and Korean languages.

Ooi added that life is made easier as he does not have any financial concerns as both his wife and son have their own jobs and are able to feed themselves.

“As long as my body is still healthy, I will still working,“ he added. - Bernama

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