Hot delivery riders of Singapore

We'd love for these delivery riders to show up at our door

Photos: Jenny Tai
Photos: Jenny Tai
10 Apr 2017

Photos: Jenny Tai

Aishah Amal, Foodpanda

Don’t tell Aishah Amal that ladies are bad with directions. When it comes to sending orders, female riders are on par with or even higher than male riders.

Initially, she took up this job as a way to hone her road sense and experience. “I wanted something that challenged me,” the 20-year-old said, and the fact that she’s made numerous friends with both vendors and riders is a plus. Her favourite area to deliver to is along the West Coast where the roads are relatively clear during the evening, making for a breezy and smooth ride. 

Unapologetically loud, funny and edgy, Aishah is currently saving up for school, and has her sights on Lasalle College of the Arts. 

When the majority of food deliverers are men, what’s it like to be a female delivery rider? 

Females have advantages and get everything our way. If you are a girl, customers will smile at you a lot. You get more tips. Female riders get more attention and all the right of way. The ratio’s like 1 to 20 when it comes to female riders. I’m the rare species. 

Another thing is that back at base, we’re all friends like family. The female riders have a WhatsApp group. We’re really tight and we hang out. The guys will come and join us of course. 

Aishah Amal, Foodpanda
Aishah Amal, Foodpanda
10 Apr 2017

Aishah Amal, Foodpanda

What’s the most challenging part of your job? 

Doing the job itself. Being a delivery person is not easy - handling customer service and being on the road when it rains is one of the biggest challenges because our tyres can skid and we’re actually risking our own safety to meet the delivery timing. Some vendors make us wait for half an hour. Some customers don’t open the door so you have to wait 20 minutes. If you have this happen five days in a row, it affects your morale. 

What are some upsides of being a delivery rider? 

It’s like freelance. You can choose your time table. On a good day you get a full shift so you make more money. During off periods we don’t get orders so we can have a break and go have lunch with other riders and still get paid for it. 

What’s the most surprising thing that’s happened on the job? 

I had a customer who paid with a $100 bill. I didn’t have change and he said, "You can keep the change...if you come inside."

Any occupational hazards? 

Back aches. 

Fazli Nasser, Foodpanda
Fazli Nasser, Foodpanda
10 Apr 2017

Fazli Nasser, Foodpanda

After a midnight delivery, Fazli was once invited to watch the World Cup by a customer, who handed him drinks and a chair. Another time, a regular customer struck up a conversation with Fazli and as the two talked about their common interests, they found out they both liked diving. “We became diving buddies and even went diving together in the Maldives,” said Fazli. “My job has definitely helped me meet people. Some of the people I frequently deliver to have become my friends.” 

The 33-year-old married father-of-two has been a delivery rider for 13 years, and for the past two he’s been a part of the Foodpanda family, where riders enjoy soccer tournaments and Free Food Thursdays. 

What’s one of the most surprising experiences you’ve had as a delivery rider? 

I was so late in delivering this order. The vendor was late in preparing it and I was scared it would screw up my performance. The whole day had been stressful, the weather was crazy, and there were all these aggressive riders on the road. Then when I finally reached the customer, she was the positive one. She gave me a really good tip for that day. I saw it and just started crying. I was like, “Thank you, thank you, this is so nice.” 

Fazli Nasser, Foodpanda
Fazli Nasser, Foodpanda
10 Apr 2017

Fazli Nasser, Foodpanda

What’s the most rewarding part of your job, the part that makes you go, “It’s worth it”? 

One of the most satisfying experiences I had was when I delivered food and a cake to a customer. Initially, I thought it was a prank order because the end point was at the beach. But then there was a comment that said, “Ask her to read the card.” So upon reaching, I gave the customer the food, cake, and the card, she read it and cried, then all of the sudden, her friends and boyfriend came out of the trees and bushes to surprise her. It was so cute!

I was just happy that I contributed to that part of the experience. My goal is to make our customers happy, and I think on that particular incident, I did my part. 

What does someone have to prepare for if they want to date a delivery rider? 

(Jokingly) For sure that we love our bikes more than the lady. I would say right now this job is a stable source of income, so if anyone wants to marry a delivery rider, don’t worry about the stereotype. Look at me, I have a wife and two kids, this pays the bills and I’m happy. 

Does it help to have good looks as a delivery rider? 

Yes. We had this customer who always requested the most good-looking rider, like they actually instructed that in the comments. It’s definitely pleasing to the eye to see a hot guy or girl delivering your food.

 

Fidah Ngatijan, Deliveroo
Fidah Ngatijan, Deliveroo
10 Apr 2017

Fidah Ngatijan, Deliveroo

Fidah Ngatijan’s love of bikes started when, at the age of 17, she saw a video of a girl who built her own bike. “I thought, ‘Wow, a woman can do this.’ I was motivated to be like her,” she said. Although she had studied fashion design, Fidah decided to forgo stitching up pretty dresses for building bikes. During her free time, the 26-year-old enjoys tinkering with greasy metal works and motorcycle parts in a workshop. Her own bike is a sticker-covered pink eye-candy of a ride that she customised, and she’s proud to show it off while using it to earn extra money as a delivery rider. You’ll know it when you catch her on the road — there’s no missing her, or her bike.

Let's start at the beginning. What made you decide to be a delivery rider? 

I love riding and I can make money with it so as a delivery rider, I make the best of both worlds. For me, riding is a form of de-stress. Roads here in Singapore are like a game. Delivery-wise, I have to be attentive and it really tests my agility.

What do you think are the advantages of your job versus your friends who work a normal office job?

They are more laid back. They ask me why I would want to do this when I can just sit around in an office, but I don’t do laid-back kind of work. I like to be on the move on the streets. That’s just me.

 

Fidah Ngatijan, Deliveroo
Fidah Ngatijan, Deliveroo
10 Apr 2017

Fidah Ngatijan, Deliveroo

How did your family feel about your decision to be a delivery rider?

They didn’t like it when I first started out, even when I told them I wanted a bike license. Now my dad agrees with me but to my mum, I’m still her little girl. I told her, “Whatever I do, I hope you’re proud of me.”

Does being attractive help in your business?

I don’t think so actually. I think it’s how you present yourself to the customers. Even if you don’t have good-looking features, if you’re friendly that sets you apart. Smiles play a big part. Be genuine. They are hungry, they can get cranky, so if you give friendly service that’s good. 

Tell us one of the most surprising experiences you've ever had on the job. 

I needed to deliver to this particular lady. It was drizzling, my bike couldn’t start, then I had to fix it and I was running late. The customer got a bit pissed about this. I felt bad and I tried my best to be there as soon as possible, then as soon as I got there, it was my friend. I felt relieved when I saw it was her.

What does someone have to prepare for if they want to date a delivery rider? 

I think for me since I’m a girl, they will fantasise about someone in a dress and heels. If they want to date me, they have to be prepared that I will get drenched in rain and sweat. I won’t wear heels and there will grease between my fingernails. 

Matthew Quek, Deliveroo
Matthew Quek, Deliveroo
10 Apr 2017

Matthew Quek, Deliveroo

As a dyslexia therapist Matthew Quek spends hours teaching one-on-one, and the intensity can leave him mentally drained. That’s why, when looking for sideline earnings, he decided to become a delivery rider because it provided a sense of relief: “It’s more physical rather than mental,” Matthew said, adding, “I had a bike anyway so why not use it?”

The 28-year-old graduated from an Australian university with a degree in psychology. Despite his reserved disposition, within his clan of delivery riders he’s known to be quite funny and steadily considerate, counted upon to help out a fellow rider with a broken down bike.

What goes on in your head when you’re on the road? 

In order to survive on Singapore roads these days you need to constantly assume that people on the road are out to kill you. My reflexes have definitely gotten better since being a rider.

Any other little-known perks about being a delivery rider?

The freedom. No one’s breathing down your neck. You feel like you’re on your own but you also get to work with friends — the riders talk amongst themselves and help each other out, like when someone’s bike breaks down. Schedule-wise, there are certain bits of flexibility because we can choose which hours we want to work. 

Tell us about one of your favourite experiences on the job.

Meeting celebrities and a few radio personalities. I also got the opportunity to deliver to a former Miss Universe contestant. It’s very different when you see her on TV than when you see her in person, like very down-to-earth and kind of un-glam. At the end of the day they’re still regular people. 

Matthew Quek, Deliveroo
Matthew Quek, Deliveroo
10 Apr 2017

Matthew Quek, Deliveroo

You’re a university graduate. How do people react when they learn that you’re delivery rider?

I’ve had some experiences where upon delivering to some customers, they made comments like, “You don’t do this full-time…right?” It kind of suggests something when they say that.

It makes me feel sad that people these days can be narrow-minded and think that delivery riders are all uneducated, rough-around-the-edges or school dropouts. But for this mindset to change it takes a while. It’s like in the past people who drove cabs were seen as uneducated, but these days you have property agents driving Uber or Grab due to the flexibility.  

What do you look for in a girl?

My biggest one is NOT being a gold-digger. Someone who’s open minded and mature enough to have an intellectual conversation.

The best kind of customer?

Those who greet you when you deliver the food and ask how your day is. All these small gestures count. I had a nice customer who offered me a drink. It was just a bottle of water but it was nice.

What does someone have to prepare for if they want to date a delivery rider? 

You need to be understanding, supportive, and caring but not overbearing. By overbearing I mean, I understand if you care for me that I’m on the road all the time, but you shouldn’t be worried to the point where your worry is stressing me out. And also when you date a delivery rider, because he is riding on the road all the time he can’t respond to texts and calls at work.

Nathaniel Hub-Khan, WhyQ
Nathaniel Hub-Khan, WhyQ
10 Apr 2017

Nathaniel Hub-Khan, WhyQ

22-year-old Nathaniel Hub-Khan grew up helping his grandma at her hawker stall selling nasi padang. He saw firsthand the camaraderie between the hawkers and grew familiar with the ins and outs of hawker culture. So it’s no surprise that as a food runner for WhyQ, a delivery service that brings delicious food court meals to busy folks in the CBD, Nathaniel is comfortable traversing crowded, cramped hawker centres, packing piping hot orders snugly in a backpack and powerwalking “as fast as a sports car” to hungry office workers, calling out cheerful greetings to uncles and aunties en route.

What does it take to be a successful delivery runner?

You have to be efficient and punctual every single day. Before, I was always late for everything. WhyQ changed me a lot. Not only am I very punctual now, I can also walk from one place to another in half the time. This job is part of my cardio.

Do you think people tend to have misconceptions about being a food deliverer?

Yes. One of my colleagues is an art teacher, and another one is a chef in a restaurant. Most of us are studying. However usually people think delivery riders only do deliveries and that we don’t have any life outside of that. It makes us feel inferior when we are delivering to these offices and some of them look down on us.

Tell us about one of the craziest days you’ve had on the job.

There was once when I spilled a whole bag of food and there was soup all over. I were so flustered and I didn’t know how to solve it at all. It was a day when everything was a mess. I left that day feeling demoralised. But I tell myself and my team that every day is different, some are good, some are bad.

 

Nathaniel Hub-Khan, WhyQ
Nathaniel Hub-Khan, WhyQ
10 Apr 2017

Nathaniel Hub-Khan, WhyQ

How helpful is it to have good looks as a delivery rider

It helps in service recovery, like if we miss their order, I would always be the one going to the office to deliver their food and smile and apologise. They seem satisfied with that.

As a delivery guy for WhyQ, do you have any tips for speed walking?

Try to get as wide a stride as you can. We carry our orders in a backpack and I walk or mid-jog everywhere I go, so that requires balance and agility. You basically have to find your sweet spot in the position of carrying your bag so your back doesn’t feel too much strain.

What do you think is an surprisingly cool part of your job?

I feel that being a delivery rider gives me the freedom to meet different people every day, both expats and locals, and learn about their industries. We deliver to bankers, magazine editors, and people in the creative industry. All our clients are working professionals. Some of the expats might not want to try food in Singapore and we help them choose from the variety of local foods that we have, so it’s nice that I get to take part in recommending to them.

Where do you see yourself five years from now?

I hope to have my own architecture firm. I started taking night classes in architecture. It’s an interest I always had, and being a delivery rider has given me the chance to do it because of the flexibility of the job. There’s a good work-life balance here. The money that I earn as a deliverer helps pay for my night classes.

More in this series: 
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Get ready to swoon over Singapore's 5 hottest fitness guys
Real-life Dream Coders of Singapore
Real-life angels: Male nurses of Singapore

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