48-year old, Mohd Zali Bin Ngadirin is a local bus driver who has been in business for 17 years. Unfortunately when the pandemic hit and schools were instructed to go online, Zali was left devastated and discouraged without a source of income.
Determined to turn his challenges and obstacles into opportunities, Zali then turned to foodpanda to become a delivery rider. Thankfully, his hard work and never say die attitude paid off when he was able to purchase a new bike after having only been on the job for a month. He was beyond ecstatic to share that the saying, “every cloud has a silver lining” rings true and serves as a constant reminder to him to never give up or feel defeated.
Most recently, Mohd Zali was also approached by his former employer but had to politely decline the offer as he enjoys being a delivery rider because of its flexible working hours. Additionally, he also shared that the job gives him the opportunity to meet new people from all walks of life everyday. Zali is extremely grateful for this turn of events that has significantly helped him and his family.
Tell us a little more about yourself prior to becoming a foodpanda rider. How long were you a bus driver for and what were the areas that you usually operate in?
Firstly, let me introduce myself. My name is Mohd Zali Bin Ngadirin and I am 48 years old. I am currently residing in Permas Jaya, Johor. Prior to joining foodpanda, I was actually a bus driver for 7 years. I would normally operate in multiple areas in the south and north, including carrying passengers to Singapore and Thailand. When the pandemic hit in 2020, my income was severely impacted due to the Movement Control Order (MCO) implemented by the government. Malaysians were instructed to stay at home, hence there were no passengers for me to fetch or send.
Realising that the pandemic was bound to prolong, I then decided to try my hand at driving a lorry instead. One day, when I decided to stop for a break in Senai, Johor, I bumped into one of my friends who was a foodpanda rider. We had a long conversation about the job, his experience, the perks and flexible working hours. He convinced me to become a foodpanda rider instead and it was then that my journey with foodpanda started. I have no regrets ever since. Thankfully, this job has helped me sustain financially and I would forever be grateful for the opportunity.
During the pandemic, schools were instructed to go online. How did this impact you and the business and how were you able to bounce back?
Yes, the pandemic had a major impact on my family and I. It was a very difficult period. The bus service was put to a stop almost immediately. We had lost our only source of income, especially since I am the breadwinner of the family. I was feeling very devastated and demotivated but the constant reminder of my family was the key driver that helped me through this time.
With a housewife and 4 children at home that needed to be taken care of, I told myself that giving up is never an option. I am the only one that is able to change my fate and I was determined to provide a better life for both my wife and children. With that, I took on the challenge of becoming a foodpanda rider.
What encouraged you to become a foodpanda rider? And how has the experience been? Could you tell us a little more.
I would say that the one thing that encouraged me to become a foodpanda rider was my genuine interest in the job. I wanted to be able to help others during this difficult period, especially for those that were experiencing difficulties in sourcing for food and having their essentials delivered to them. The experience has been a positive one and it was definitely an eye-opener for me. I am happy that I was able to help other Malaysians out there who have been deeply affected by the pandemic. It has also given me the opportunity to get to know more foodpanda riders in the Pasir Gudang area, share experiences and motivate each other.
Currently, what are the areas that you operate in and how many hours in a day do you usually work?
At the moment, I am currently operating in Pasir Gudang, Seri Alam and Permas Jaya. Prior to this, I was operating in almost every part of Johor, ranging from Senai, Kulai, Pekan Nenas, Pontian, Benut, Simpang Renggam, Kluang, Air Hitam, Yong Peng, Batu Pahat, Parit Raja and Kota Tinggi. I would usually start my day in the morning and work right up till dinner time to earn more. I feel very excited to be able to help people in Johor with their meals and daily essential needs.
What are some of the challenges that you are faced with as a rider?
There are many challenges that we face on a daily basis as riders. Some of these challenges include the unpredictable weather conditions. Sometimes when there are heavy downpours, there are uprooted trees on the roads that obstruct us from completing our deliveries. During the Movement Control Order (MCO), there were times that I had run out of fuel and faced difficulties with refuelling because petrol stations were only operating for limited amount of hours and were instructed by the government to close early.
Besides that, there were also times where my tyre had gone flat or there were complications with my motorcycle engine in the midst of the delivery. In times like this, I had no choice but to cancel the order and apologise to the customer. I also experience losses when I accept orders and it is cancelled by the vendors because they have run out of ingredients or the item is no longer available. There were also instances when the food was wrongly picked up by other riders or the customers did not have sufficient small change to pay us. Lastly, another challenge would be the high number of road accidents that happen on a daily basis. As riders, we are exposed to these road dangers. I always ensure to follow the road rules and keep within the speed limit. Although faced with these many challenges, I am truly grateful that I am able to earn an income to provide for my family.
Are you able to share any positive experiences, stories or encounters that you have had with customers during your time as a foodpanda rider?
During my time as a rider, I’ve had many positive experiences. Malaysians are truly unlike any other. They are extremely friendly and generous. Especially during festive occasions, customers are always handing out Ang Pows and Duit Raya to the riders.
However, there was one special encounter for me that I will never forget. I had the opportunity to deliver food to one of the JDT football player’s house. I was super excited and he had invited me to his house for a meal on the first day of Hari Raya Aidilfitri. I also had the chance to take pictures with him and he had shared how foodpanda had helped him a lot with his meals during the pandemic. This was definitely the highlight for me so far.
Now that schools have reopened, why did you choose to continue being a foodpanda rider instead of continuing your bus service?
I chose to continue being a foodpanda rider because of the stable income and flexible work schedule that allows me to work and still spend time with my family. Besides that, foodpanda was also my life saver when I had lost my job during the pandemic and did not have any sort of income. I was able to bounce back and turn my obstacles into an opportunity. I managed to solve my financial difficulties such as the housing loan, utility bills and even insurance. That’s not all, I was even able to purchase a new motorcycle for myself. Because of foodpanda, I could see the happiness in my wife and children’s faces again. It was then that I made a promise to myself that I will continue to make an effort for my family without giving up.
What are some of the advantages or perks of being a foodpanda rider?
The advantages of being a foodpanda rider is that I am able to earn a stable income every month, familiarise myself with the different routes and areas in Johor and also meet new people everyday and learn about the different cultures. I am also able to improve my social and communication skills.
The perks on the other hand is that I am able to receive various rebates and yearly bonuses from foodpanda. Additionally, I am also able to obtain points for every delivery made and use them to redeem items from foodpanda. Finally, foodpanda also offers us insurance and SOCSO coverage that can be very beneficial for riders like myself.
Do you have any advice or words of encouragement for other Malaysians out there who are faced with similar difficulties?
Some words of encouragement that I would like to share with Malaysians is that strength and growth only comes from continuous effort. No matter what we do, we should always have strong determination and patience. Moreover, we should always be honest and sincere in all that we do. Every challenge and obstacle presents its own opportunities and we should never give up easily.
Could you share with us some of your plans for the future or your goals? What do you hope to achieve in the next 3-5 years?
My hope for the future is that foodpanda would be able to introduce and extend more areas for delivery and I would be able to service these areas. Aside from that, one of the goals is to be recognised as one of the top performing foodpanda riders in Malaysia and hopefully foodpanda would continue to excel and cement their position as the top delivery platform on a global scale.
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