Photo credit: DELIVEROO

This 23-year-old Deliveroo rider continues to work during circuit breaker so she can support her family

Umi Sabrina started working to help with the bills at home after her mum was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Nigel Chin

Started writing for the passion. Now writing because it’s the only thing I can do.

Published: 27 May 2020, 2:03 PM

While most of her peers have been staying home during the circuit breaker, 23-year-old Umi Sabrina has been out and about everyday for at least three hours.

Donning a pair of black pants, pair of white shoes and teal-coloured polo tee, she’s heading out to work.

More specifically, she’s delivering food to others – carrying a large thermal bag of the same teal colour as her polo tee, with the word ‘Deliveroo’ emblazoned across the front, riding around Singapore with her trusted Yamaha motorcycle.

Umi works as a Deliveroo food delivery rider, and has been doing so for the last 10 months.

Each day, she completes about 10 to 15 orders. But while many have thought that the circuit breaker is prime for delivery riders to earn more, Umi says that it hasn’t been the case. She’s still earning roughly the same amount.

On the other hand, the circuit breaker has made it tougher for delivery riders to go about their jobs.

“Sometimes, we face factors well out of control such as longer waiting times at restaurants due to reduced manpower. On the other hand, as more customers are staying home, they are expecting their food to arrive quickly,” explained Umi.

Umi wants customers to understand that food delivery riders are working hard and tirelessly to deliver their meals as soon as possible during the circuit breaker period. PHOTO CREDIT: DELIVEROO

Umi added that like others, she is also afraid of contracting the virus or even passing it on to her family members too. However, she does not have the option of stopping work, as she needs to help alleviate the financial burden on her family.

The Diploma in Hotel, Leisure & Facilities Management graduate from the Singapore Polytechnic was completing her studies when she found out that her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. Till date, Umi’s mother still has to make trips to the hospital for check ups.

With expenses mounting, Umi, who lives with two other siblings too, wanted to earn additional income to help her family members out.

She earns about $15 an hour with Deliveroo, and her earnings also depends on the number of orders she completes. About 30 to 40 per cent of her monthly income is given to her family while another 20 per cent is used to stock up on essentials items in the house.

“I saw my siblings stepping up to take on part-time jobs to help, so I thought to do my part as well to help,” she told Youth.SG.

“Being a food delivery rider offered me the flexibility that many other part-time jobs couldn’t provide. For example, with other part-time jobs I’d typically have to fulfill a set number of shifts a week at allocated hours, but with Deliveroo, I could choose when and for how long I wanted to work.”

Umi says she enjoys seeing the smiles on her customers’ faces when she delivers their food to them. PHOTO CREDIT: DELIVEROO

When Umi first started working as a Deliveroo rider, she was also in the midst of her internship. On weekdays, she would reach home at 6pm, and start her Deliveroo shift at 7pm, spending the next three hours picking up orders and delivering it. On weekends, she spent about five to six hours working as a delivery rider.

“I had to sacrifice spending time with my friends as a result, but I made sure to complete my assessments on time during the spare time I had on weekends. I also made a conscious effort to fully focus on lectures and tutorials when I was in school, making full use of my time by keeping up in classes and so I didn’t have to do double work after,” Umi recalled.

“At the end of the day, it is about striking a balance between school, internship and work, as my priority is trying to make extra income to support my family.”

Deliveroo learnt of Umi’s situation after chancing upon a video on Nanyang Polytechnic’s Facebook page. They decided to help her out – by gifting Umi $200 in Deliveroo credits.

“We wanted to help out… As a company, we love food, so we thought to gift her and her family Deliveroo credits so they can order in and enjoy some great tasting food and spend more time together as a family, especially during Ramadan,” said a company spokesperson.

The spokesperson added that the company is glad to have been a part of Umi’s life and hopes that the past 10 months has given Umi some great memories.

Front-Line Heroes - Umi Sabrina

Thank you to all the front-line workers and other unsung heroes in the Covid-19 fight. One of them is Umi Sabrina, a recent polytechnic grad and a food delivery rider, who is an amazing display of individual resilience. #FrontlineHeroes #SGUnited #SGTogether #DMMMproduction (Editor's note: We shot this before the any of the safe-distancing measures kicked into effect here in Singapore).

Posted by Diploma in Mass Media Management (NYP) on Saturday, April 11, 2020

For Umi, it has been a great experience, indeed. Working as a delivery rider has helped her to pick up some life skills.

“I’ve definitely become a lot more patient after working as a rider and more appreciative of people in similar fields. It’s not an easy job for sure,” she said.

“It requires patience, kindness, and a calm nature while out on the road. It provides good opportunities to interact with people from all walks of life, from restaurant staff to customers, which has also helped to boost my confidence and social skills, which is a plus for me because I’m generally a bit more reserved.”

Those skills will be handy for Umi when she embarks on her new career as an Immigration Checkpoint Authority (ICA) officer. She explained that it has always been her dream to work in the government sector with a focus on immigration, and she can’t wait to start her job in July.

But until then, she’s going to try and make the best out of her current situation.

“As an essential worker, I am very glad that I’m still able to do my part to help others in the community,” Umi shared.

“Delivering Singaporeans’ favourite restaurant meals has been very rewarding, especially when there are some who really can’t leave their homes for whatever reasons.”

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