On my way to work
Grab is my main means of transportation to go to work every day.
(For those who don’t know, Grab is an ride-hailing app that was started in Singapore in 2012 and is popular in South East Asia nowadays. In a simpler way, if kids at Babson say: “Let’s Uber to the Woodland Station”, kids in Malaysia, Vietnam and many other Southeast Asian will say: “Let’s Grab to [abcxyz]”)
Grab is cheap, especially in Vietnam. Vietnam is probably the one of few countries where you could pay 23,000 VNĐ, which is equal to $1, for an eight-kilometer ride on a motorbike. Yes! ONE-DOLLAR. And this could only happen due to the expansion of Grab into the Vietnamese market.
However, the convenience brought by Grab is not the only thing that makes me such a big fan of its service. Rather, it’s more about the experiences of sitting behind the Grab motorbike to go from one side of Hanoi to the other side and enjoy meaning conversations with the strange drivers.
Riding with Grab has granted me the chance to meet people from all walks of life and appreciate the color life picture that I got to see. Each carries with them a heart full of love and life with their ride. It never fails to fascinate me how authentic and passionate these drivers are when telling me their stories.
I once had a ride with a man who lived in a temple and worked part-time as a Grab driver. He was not a monk. He just lived in the temple to gain his peace of mind as he said: “It is my destiny”.
I giggled all the way to work thanks to the jokes of this one woman who worked to make ends meet for her entire four-member family. Her life was tough yet she was so optimistic and made it like something so funny.
I smiled when seeing the big smiles of this old driver who worked as a Grab driver just for fun after his retirement as he just couldn’t help staying at home. He used to be a traffic police; he spent his entire life on the street and dedicated it for the people. Therefore, when he’s retired, working as a Grab driver is the way for him to continue living his life mission.
I also remembered the story of this one Grab driver who used to work for Uber. He sighed when telling me how much higher Grab had increased the fees for drivers since Uber left the market.
Life is pure, real and beautiful on my way to work.