MANILA, Philippines – At this point, ordering via GrabFood is second nature for a lot of us. Every day, we pull out our phones to order merienda – pretty much on autopilot mode.
But for the people behind each order, it’s a ticket to a better life.
Loid Herrera: Being his own boss and finding a second family
Twenty-five-year-old Loid Herrera supports his two young kids by working full-time as a GrabFood rider.
Loid previously worked odd jobs in the food industry but enjoys working as a rider more. “Kung minimum earner lang, hindi ko masusuportahan yung dalawang anak ko (If I were a minimum earner, I wouldn’t be able to support my kids),” he says. He now calls himself his own boss.
He also found a second family in his fellow riders, with whom he would go on outings during days off.
No job is without its difficulties, though. Loid runs into customers who would talk to him rudely, make him wait outside in the heat or rain, or cancel orders after he had already bought the food. For cancelled orders to be reimbursed, he would have to bring them to Grab’s office in Makati.
And that’s the least of a GrabFood rider’s problems. They’re also vulnerable to accidents. Once, while on his way to deliver milk tea, Loid got hit by an ambulance. He messaged fellow riders, who immediately came to his rescue and went with him to file a blotter.
Aside from having to take a break from work for over a week, he also had to borrow money to buy a new bike. Thanks to Grab’s gift of P20,000 and groceries, he and his family were able to pull through.
“Thankful kami sa Grab sa ginawa niyang system. Malaking tulong talaga siya sa taong ayaw ng amo pero walang pagpuhunan ng negosyo (We’re thankful that Grab created this system. It’s helpful for those who want to be independent but don’t have the capital for business),” Loid says.
Jayson Osita: Working his way through college
At just 21, recent college graduate Jayson is already helping his parents out financially.
Back when he was a college freshman, Jayson saw his parents struggling with money. He decided to withdraw from the private college he was attending. But rather than totally quit schooling, he transferred to a public college and started working. “Sabi ko kay mama, mag-wowork ako. Ayaw pa nga nila nung una, kasi ayaw nila akong makitang naihirapan. Sabi ko, ‘Kaya ko yun, Ma.’” (I told my mother I was going to start working. My parents intially didn’t want me to do it, because they don’t like seeing me struggle. I just said, “I can do it, Ma.”)
He started as an all-around crew member of a fast food chain, but he wasn’t earning enough. Besides, the inflexible schedule made it difficult to juggle school and work.
Jayson then decided to try working for GrabFood. Right after his last class at 3pm, he’d already go on his way to deliver his first order. “Nakakatulong na po ako kay mama. Nakakaraos din po sa bayaran ng tuition,” he says. (I’m able to help my mother out. I can also pay for my tuition.)
His father, who works as a cook, serves as his inspiration. Jayson dreams of setting up his own food-related business once he saves up enough money. He recognizes the importance of education in pursuing this goal, which is why he took up entrepreneurship in college.
Working as a rider also changed Jayson’s life in small, poignant ways – he’s now able to try the delicious food he used to only be able to deliver.
Jayson’s definitely a family guy. And he found another family in his co-riders. “Kahit walang booking, nagsasayawan, nagtatawanan,” he says. (While waiting for bookings, we’re all laughing and dancing together.)
Alfredo Clemente, Jr.: Breaking limits for PWDs
Alfredo has never let being a PWD get in the way of a job. He previously sold french fries in the streets of Batasan. When his wife got pregnant, he decided to try working for a food delivery service.
In February, however, they lost the child, who was born prematurely. Shortly after, the company he was working for suspended its operations.
Fortunately, GrabFood reached out to him and other displaced riders. Alfredo now works as a full-time rider to support his wife and to save up for a better future.
He’s earning a lot more than he used to, but has bigger dreams in mind. “Lahat kasi gusto nilang ma-change yung life nila. Ayoko kasing kung anong ginagawa ko, yun yung ginagawa ko sa pagtanda. Kaya kailangan mag-prepare ka para sa future.” (Everyone wants their lives to change. I don’t want to be doing this my entire life. That’s why you have to prepare for the future.)
This is why he sticks to the job – despite the risks that come with late-night deliveries and the profit lost when customers keep him waiting.
In the future, Alfredo also wants to help others like him. “Masakit yung ikaw yung nagmamakaawa para tanggapin ka. Plano ko for the future kung papalarin, gusto ko magtayo ng ganito. Para ako naman yung magbibigay ng opportunity sa iba.” (Begging for others to accept you is painful. In the future, if I’m lucky enough, I want to build something like this. So I can be the one to give opportunities to other people.)
Not just delivery bots
The next time you message your GrabFood rider, remember that on the other side of the app is an actual person, and not just an icon on your phone screen.
Ordering GrabFood today? Maybe strike up a quick show of appreciation – a simple thank you goes a long way. – Rappler.com