Harassed By Ride-Hailing And Delivery Services

Ever since Movement Control Order (MCO) was imposed on 18 March 2020 in Malaysia, ride-hailing and food delivery services such as Grab, Foodpanda and HappyFresh have been saving us all from hunger. Although I, along with all Malaysians, appreciate their services, something happened recently that shook me. My friend, Paro (name changed to protect her identity) was harassed by a GrabFood rider.

Being harassed is terrible, especially by the very people whom you depend on. Paro felt insecure and was stressed after being harassed by a food delivery rider, a service that she has come to depend on during the MCO.
Being harassed is terrible, especially by the very people whom you depend on. Paro felt insecure and was stressed after being harassed by a food delivery rider, a service that she has come to depend on during the MCO.
Image by Mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

Harassed: The Story Behind It

Back in March 2020, Paro had ordered food from GrabFood service (Food delivery service from Grab that delivers food from restaurant straight to customer’s home). As always, she ordered the food and waited for about half an hour for it to arrive.

The GrabFood rider texted her to stop having sex and to come down to the lobby to collect her food. This made her feel very uncomfortable. When she went to the lobby to collect her food from the GrabFood rider, he had a grin on his face that sent chills down her spine. She felt unsafe with the GrabFood rider knowing where she lived.

She immediately called GrabFood customer service line but they didn’t make things any better. They lacked active listening skills. Paro had to recapitulate the incident many times. This was traumatic for her because she wasn’t comfortable talking about it in the first place. In the end, GrabFood did reply, saying they have resolved the matter and action has been taken against the rider. Kudos to that.

Paro was harassed by a grab rider. This was the conversation.
Paro sent me a screenshot of the conversation that transpired.
Image from Paro, the victim of this harassment.

As a result of not getting a proper resolution, Paro has lost her confidence in the company. She terminated her account with Grab soon after.

What Are Ride-Hailing And Food Delivery Service Doing To Keep You Safe?

Rest assured that most of these ride-hailing and food delivery services are taking steps to prevent sexual harassment cases from happening. Policies are put into place to ensure their delivery riders and customers are properly protected.

  • Stringent Background Screenings: All GrabCar drivers and Foodpanda riders go through detailed background checks and briefing sessions on proper standard operating procedures and code of conduct before starting their job.
  • “Share-My-Ride”: Grab passengers can share their ride on social media so family and friends can track their journey in real time and know their whereabouts.
  • Police Button: In the event of any emergency or if drivers/passengers observe any anomaly, they can connect to the nearest police station with a click of the button.
  • 24/7 Customer Service Support: Catering to both passengers and drivers, they can contact the customer service department for assistance or to report any incident.
  • Dual Payment Option: This added convenience allows passengers in Malaysia to pay via credit card, eliminating the need to carry cash to pay for their ride. It also reduces the likelihood of passengers rummaging through their bag or wallet for money and risk losing or dropping their belongings.

Dear readers, before using the services of any ride-hailing and food delivery services, kindly make sure to adhere to these safety tips. At Espoletta, your safety is our priority!

A Service For Women By Women!

Having said all that, if you have been harassed before, I am sure a few of you, like myself, might still feel a bit wary. Luckily, for us we have Riding Pink. Established in 2016, Riding Pink is Malaysia’s first transportation and delivery service specifically catering for female passengers and children and operated by female drivers.

How exciting is that?

Should I Lodge A Police Report If I Am Harassed?

The answer is YES. I myself have been in situations where I felt that I was harassed. However, I didn’t take any action because I thought it wasn’t serious enough to lodge a police report. Erase that thought from your mind. No issue is too big or too small in situations like this. If you feel harassed, then I urge you to lodge a report immediately. That could avoid someone else having to be in the same situation as you. You can also refer to the Women’s Aid Organisation Malaysia (WAO) if you need help on this matter.

They have a 24/7 hotline number that offers assistance for issues like that. When in doubt, you can always contact them for enquiries.

Staying Safe And Enjoying Life

E-hailing and and food delivery services exist to make our lives better but remember to take the proper precaution.
E-hailing and food delivery services exist to make our lives easier but remember to take the proper precaution.
Image by Hany Alashkar from Pixabay

In the end, remember not to let anyone ruin your day. Ride-hailing and delivery services exist for our convenience. As long as you are aware of the safety precautions and are mindful of your surroundings, you have nothing to worry about. For those of you who have been in this situation before and want to talk to someone about it, Amal Hamzah might be able to help. She is one of our writers who wrote the Sidewalk Talk about lending a listening ear. Please check that out too.

Please support Riding Pink as well. We need more revolutionary initiatives like this to keep all the girls and children safe.

What would you do if you were in Paro's shoes?

This article is part of Espoletta’s CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) initiatives.

Preveena SIVAKUMAR

About Preveena SIVAKUMAR

Engineer, teacher, and a published author, Preveena is one friendly and bubbly character. Travelled all over Asia in search of muse and inspiration for her writing. After all, the more you've experienced the world, the better the perspective of your stories will become.

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