Meet Nazleen Zulkifle, a full-time Grab delivery-partner and single mum of 3.
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Delivery riders are the foundation of what keeps us sane through the happiness it brings to our delectable palates, hungry tummies, and safe well-being in this day and age under Rona’s wicked reign.
These unsung heroes are rarely seen behind their protective riding gear. Little do we even know about them aside from their name and how far they are before they arrive with our food.
So let’s take a moment to applaud them all for all the hard work they do under unpredictable weather and traffic conditions, and let’s get to know one in our series of Day-In-The-Life.
Not only is Nazleen Zulkifle a rose among the thorns in a male-dominated industry, but she’s also the breadwinner as a single mum of three children.
The 38-year-old has been a Grab delivery-partner for three years and worked in a customer service department at an F&B chain before.
Her interest in becoming a delivery-partner came after hearing of a friends experience working as one. She started part-time before making the full switch over.
When we asked why the shift in jobs, Nazleen told us how the fixed long hours took away time from her children. Her kids who are now 14, 13, and 9, used to have to prepare their meals and go to school themselves, which at the time is considered a huge responsibility at such a young age.
6 am – 7 am: Wake up, cook breakfast, prepare kids for school
7 am: Send children to school
But now during EMCO, the same routine still applies with Nazleen getting her kids ready for online classes instead.
8 am: Once the kids are all settled in, she will turn on the Grab app for delivery partners and will leave the house when she receives the first order.
After accepting the order, she will head to the restaurant, cross-check the order number and deliver it to the customer. After completing the first delivery, she will then proceed to the next, and if there is none, she will rest or hang out with other delivery-partners nearby till she receives the next order.
Her work schedule throughout the day is broken up into 3 time periods from 8 am – 10 am, 11:30 am – 2 pm, and 4:30 pm – 6pm and on average she will deliver approximately 10-15 orders per day.
Flexibility is the winning factor
The Malay Mail reported a few months ago a shortage of delivery riders stating that a key factor given by riders themselves is the low financial incentive in becoming one.
Although this may be true for some, it’s the flexible working hours that Nazleen favours most.
My favourite part about this job is the flexible working hours which has provided me the time to look after my kids as I get to decide when to deliver and I’m able to earn an income to support my family.
Close-knit family of riders
Like in any work environment, it’s important to get along with your cohorts. Despite the misconception that delivery riders are always chasing that next delivery, there will be times where they will also find a bit of free time to mingle with other riders.
Nazleen considers the riders in her zone delivery of Wangsa Maju as close-knit. They have their group chats for support, from their stories and experiences on the road to help when their motorcycle breaks down.
“We always try to help each other out,” she says.
Everything Nazleen has done has been for her family. She has been grateful that most of her experiences have been pleasant so far, and told us she’s even received an RM100 tip from a customer whom she’s never met!
I am committed to being a good mother to my children by providing for them even though some have said my job as a food delivery-partner is not suitable for a woman. With this job, it’s more flexible, I can spend more time with my kids, and take care of them better. I can also send them or pick them up at school, guide them to attend online classes, and I finally have the chance to participate in my children’s school activities that require parent’s attendance.
Though the deliver-partner life may give Nazleen and other riders the flexibility to spend more time with their families, it is ultimately also the customers understanding and cooperation that completes the experience.
Remember that next time you’re impatiently waiting for your food, and it’s raining heavily during peak dinner hours. A simple thank you or a tip comes a long way – not only to the person delivering the food to you but to their families as well.
All my hard work and earning is to provide for my children, to make my children succeed in life and to allow them to live a better life than I did.
Former advertising mad woman - turned mother to an amazing little girl born 3 months early - and now a returned writer. Also a textbook ambivert with no clue about today's pop music but a walking encyclopedia of music from the 80s and 90s.