Taxi drivers and food delivery riders struggle to eat their meals while on the job

Bored of eating at home? Think about the taxi drivers and food delivery riders who are still working during the circuit breaker period.

Wan Munirah

Published: 21 April 2020, 2:04 PM

We are now at day five of the circuit breaker period. By now, most Singaporeans have started to embrace the new routine of staying at home as much as possible, especially since eating out at F&B outlets is not allowed from Apr 7 to May 4.

Unlike most Singaporeans, essential workers like taxi drivers and food delivery riders may not have the luxury of having their meals at home while working on the go.

Over the past few days, stories of taxi drivers and food delivery riders scrambling to have their meals on the job were circulating on social media, drawing varied responses from netizens.

Some taxi drivers and food delivery riders have even resorted to having their meals in public or within their vehicles, as they are unable to return home for their meals.

In a post by Facebook user Marcus Poh, which has received over 490 likes and 741 shares, a man was seen eating his meal by the curb while sitting in between parked motorcycles.

Marcus wanted others to show some compassion towards the delivery drivers who are still plying the roads and find it difficult to have their meals outside.


Marcus hopes that Singaporeans can show more compassion towards delivery drivers and food delivery riders.


Most recently, Facebook user Lisa Neo urged others to spare a thought for those who are struggling to make a living during these tough times, after noticing a taxi driver having his meal alone in his car.


Lisa noticed the taxi driver eating alone in his vehicle while walking her dogs. PHOTO CREDIT: SCREENSHOT FROM LISA NEO’S FACEBOOK


While some netizens argued that these taxi drivers and food delivery riders could opt to head back for a quick meal, others felt that they may not always be in the vicinity of their homes, due to the uncertain nature of their jobs.


A netizen felt that some drivers may have opted to eat on the job to save travelling costs.
However, some netizens criticised these workers for choosing to have their meals in public. PHOTO CREDIT: SCREENSHOT FROM FACEBOOK


On Apr 10, GrabFood deliveryman Ke Weiliang came forward to share his perspective on the situation.

Besides writing about the different encounters he had experienced with customers on the job, Weiliang also shared his frustrations with the “shaming that has been happening on social media” towards people loitering in void decks and fellow deliverymen having their meals in public.

Weiliang wrote in his Facebook post: “To be able to stay at home (let’s not even talk about ordering in) means that you have a certain kind of privilege that not everyone has.

“For every person who is irresponsibly hanging outside for fun, there is also another person who genuinely does not feel safe to be at home, be it alone or with members of their household – whom they may not be on good terms with.”


Weiliang shared that he started working as a GrabFood delivery guy after he lost his income due to the current COVID-19 situation. PHOTO CREDIT: KE WEILIANG’S FACEBOOK


He also urged Singaporeans to empathise with those who are not staying in as much as they should, as circumstances might be different for them.

“Stay at home if you can – we need all hands on board to curb the spread of COVID-19. But if you do see someone else not staying at home as often as they should be, rather than admonishing them straight away, gently check in with them to see if there is anything you can do to help them stay safe in these trying times.

“Sometimes, there are complicated circumstances behind the non-conformative actions that people take, that we can never discern on the surface,” wrote Weiliang.

As we all tuck into our meals from the comfort of our homes, let’s not forget about the struggles our taxi drivers, food delivery guys and other essential workers are facing during this tough period.

The next time you happen to order food delivery or take a cab, share some kind words or offer a tip if you can.

Even simply staying home can help our essential workers, be it transport or healthcare providers, have a peace of mind as they head out to work.

Such small gestures can go a long way, especially in a time where everyone is fighting their own battles. Remember to be kind, everyone, and stay home for Singapore.

Update: Essential workers, including taxi drivers and food delivery riders, can now have their meals in their vehicles or in public spaces such as void decks and park benches, according to updated FAQs by the Ministry of Health on Apr 11.

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