Malaysian Grab driver praised for picking up Bangladeshi workers after 3 drivers rejected them for being "smelly"

PHOTO: Facebook/Fadhli Sahar

All people are the same - this was the message that ex-Grab driver Fadhli Sahar was hoping to spread with his Facebook post that has since been shared over 3,400 times.

People have been praising him for his kindness after he told the story of the time he picked up three Bangladeshis who had been rejected by three drivers for being "smelly".

In Fadhli's June 25 post, he said when he first started driving as a private-hire driver for Grab, people told him to reject bookings from Bangladeshis as they were said to have body odour that would linger in his car.

One afternoon, he accepted a booking for a RM40 (S$13) ride. When he arrived at the pick-up point, he saw three Bangladeshi workers who appeared to be security guards. Despite the negative stereotypes, he decided to pick them up.

Throughout the ride, Fadhli tried to adjust his air-conditioner settings and rolled down the window several times, attempting to get rid of his passengers' body odour.

One of the passengers noticed Fadhli's discomfort. He wrote, "He knew that something was wrong when he saw me. Sometimes, I covered my nose with my shirt, frequently lowered down the window and changed the (air-conditioner) mode… I think he knew that I was not comfortable with them."

The Bangladeshi asked Fadhli repeatedly if he was comfortable with them in his car and shared that three other drivers had cancelled on them before he picked them up.

Believing that it would be rude and offensive to comment on body odour, Fadhli reassured them that he was okay and kept a positive attitude throughout the ride.

When they reached their destination, his passengers handed RM100 to him and refused to take the change.

Fadhli was stunned and immediately tried to return the amount to them. His customers at the time would normally tip him about one to two ringgit. To receive RM50 as a tip was unheard of.

The men told Fadhli to accept the tip as they were thankful for the ride. They also shared that it was a daily occurrence for drivers to reject them.

Fadhli summed up his post by advocating respect for everyone, saying "Even they are immigrants but they are still human. They have feelings, emotions and thoughts. Something that we must respect on all people.

"Until now, I don't understand why some drivers are choosy about their passengers based on appearance. If it is your job, just get it done. All people (sic) are the same."

Fadhli's post garnered positive reactions and praise from Facebook users. Some private-hire drivers took the opportunity to share their own experiences.

Contrary to negative stereotypes that some may have of foreign workers, comments said that foreign workers were the most generous with tips.

Photo: Facebook/Fadhli Sahar
Photo: Facebook/Fadhli Sahar
"My contact who has driven for Grab says the biggest tip he got is RM40 from a Bangladeshi."
Photo: Facebook/Fadhli Sahar

Others focused on spreading positivity and speaking out against xenophobic attitudes.

Photo: Facebook/Fadhli Sahar
Photo: Facebook/Fadhli Sahar
Photo: Facebook/Fadhli Sahar

kimberlylim@asiaone.com

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