Last Updated: June 11, 2020
It’s been almost two months of ‘Circuit Breaker’, and I’m sure most of us have ordered more food delivery than we would under normal circumstances.
While we’re at home awaiting our food, have we thought about how our convenience has impacted others? Namely, the food delivery riders. It’s a thankless job, with orders coming in rain or shine. And as with most service jobs, one of the biggest sources of job stress has to be unreasonable customers.
But even though there are many incidents which show how entitled Singaporeans can be, there are also many acts of kindness that restore our faith in humanity. Including some anecdotes from friends who are working in the industry, here are 10 acts of kindness as experienced by our food delivery riders to spread some positive vibes.
This story was related to me by one of my friends who does food delivery.
“One day during the fasting month, I didn’t really get to break fast on time, so I was really tired, hungry and thirsty.
The customer I delivered to was really kind. They gave me a small bag of dates, and a bottle of chilled mineral water, which I happily thanked them for.”
And from the same friend from the story above, he had another story to share.
“Another time, it was raining very heavily—thunder and all—but since I already had the customer’s food in my bag, I had to deliver it. I didn’t have a raincoat.
On arrival, I was dripping wet from head to toe.
So, the customer quickly got a towel for me, so that I could dry myself off. She even apologised profusely for making me cycle through the rain. I told her it was fine, and that it’s just part of the job.”
Waiting around at eateries is a big part of the job for delivery riders. While it’s often the only downtime for the delivery riders during the course of the day, it’s not much of a respite too.
Sometimes, that can be all the time that delivery riders have to grab a quick bite or drink.
For one delivery rider, he started working for GrabFood when he lost all of his art income due to the current COVID-19 pandemic.
And on his first day of work, he encountered a kind-hearted waitress who bought him a drink while he was waiting for an order that was taking longer than usual. She even said, “做这行辛苦了，这杯茶泡给你喝，替你加油!”—or, “This line of work is hard, so this cup of tea is for you, to cheer you on!”
Food delivery is definitely thirsty work, and when things are busy, I’m sure a lot of delivery riders might not even have the time to get water and stay hydrated.
Most of us might not think much of buying a cup of bubble tea to quench our thirst, but for delivery riders who are pressed for time, this isn’t always an option for them.
One kind customer bought drinks from R&B Tea for their food delivery rider, and even more to share with other riders. This is what the message said:
“Hi, you don’t have to deliver the order to me! The drinks are for you and your fellow riders. Just wanna say thank you for the hard work during this period. Stay hydrated and safe always!”
With how hectic food delivery can be, riders often don’t have the time to even sit down for a proper meal. And considering that mealtimes are when they pick up the most jobs, this means they usually don’t get to eat until later.
For one customer, he decided to pay it forward by buying supper for his delivery rider instead.
Ordering from Junction 9 in Yishun, the customer, Terence, included this little note: “Your supper, bro. Enjoy.”
In the text conversation between the delivery rider and Terence, even after Terence says, “Food is yours. Have a good night my friend”, the delivery rider couldn’t believe it.
The delivery rider even double-checked with the customer, asking “Are you being serious?” and insisted that “I mean I can send it over, that’s my job.”
While it’s not a lavish feast, this little gesture certainly brightened the delivery rider’s day.
One of the kind acts that we can do for our delivery riders is tipping them. While Singapore doesn’t have much of a tipping culture, it’s still a good way for food delivery riders to earn a little more.
S$1 or S$2 isn’t a lot to most of us—especially if we can afford to order food delivery—but it could go a long way for the riders. And the teenaged son of a customer knows that, choosing to show his appreciation by tipping the food delivery rider.
The rider was delivering food from IMM to Bukit Batok with three plastic bags of food, and he was running slightly late. When he reached the customer’s house, the teenaged son opened the door and paid for the food, including a tip of S$4.
What made this incident even more encouraging on the teenager’s part was that the rider apparently heard the mother say, “Why you give him S$4; he so late?” To defend the rider, the teenager replied, “He’s not perfect. He is working outside while we’re having this huge dinner.”
Food delivery riders are often stuck outdoors, at the mercy of inclement weather. This often causes delays, and unreasonable customers can get quite irate.
For one food delivery rider, the customer sent him a message to say, “No hurry, don’t ride if it is raining. It’s okay if [it’s] late.”
And the thoughtful gesture didn’t stop there. The customer also passed the delivery rider a resealable plastic bag filled with chocolates and candy, to thank him.
The food delivery rider posted this encounter on Facebook, with the caption “Humanity Restored… Made my day.” Yes, these small acts of kindness certainly restore our faith in humanity.
To make hectic meal times worse, during the month of Ramadhan, it can be even more stressful for riders who are fasting. After all, it can’t be easy to juggle breaking fast and the higher volume of orders.
For one food delivery rider who was collecting orders at a Tampines coffeeshop, he got more than just the customer’s order.
The abang tending the stall actually packed some food for the delivery rider to break his fast. Even though the delivery rider initially declined the offer, the man insisted and asked the rider to eat.
The rider concluded his post by saying that “Heroes don’t always wear capes”, a sentiment echoed in the comments, with people chiming in that “Heroes don’t wear capes—they wear Baba’s aprons.”
During the ‘Circuit Breaker’ period and the current COVID-19 pandemic, F&B businesses have certainly been hit hard.
But this didn’t stop a hawker in Chong Pang Hawker Centre from doing all he could to support food delivery riders. From 14 April – 4 May 2020, this humble drink stall in Yishun offered free drinks for all food delivery drivers and riders, without any purchase needed.
The hawker brought up a valid point—that food delivery riders are frontline workers too and their efforts should be recognised.
In the post comments, the second-generation owner even mentioned that “Although we are not working with any food delivery company at this period, we would still like to show our appreciation for the delivery driver[s] during this time. I understand all [drivers’ incomes are] badly affected and hope our little gesture can help to encourage them.”
It’s never to early to teach children to be more grateful towards our under-appreciated workers, and these kindergarten kids certainly got the memo.
When a GrabFood delivery rider sent an order over to a kindergarten, he received this message from the teacher: “Hello! You may just leave the drinks on the footstep later. My K2 kids [(I’m a preschool teacher)] and I have left a little something for you to brighten up your day! I’ve [hung] it on the door for you to take later thank you!”
It turns out that the K2 kids wrote him a heartwarming note, which was accompanied by a can of Coke and a chocolate bar.
Here’s what the note said: “Thank you delivery man for delivery food and drinks. Singapore love you. Are you ok delivery man. Have a good day.”
It may be a small gesture on our part, but these acts of kindness—no matter how big or small—certainly impact the food delivery riders.
Let’s strive to make the world a better place, one small act of kindness at a time—you never know how much positivity you can spread, with a kind word or gesture.