PETALING JAYA: It had to happen sooner or later.
Uber, the ride-sharing facility that is popular with thousands of Malaysians, made history on Dec 3, 2016 when it recorded its first baby born during an Uber ride in the country.
Uber driver Roy Affendi Annuar could not have possibly known what to expect when he went to pick up Abdul Jamil Amil and his daughter-in-law, Norhashima Noordin, 29, at their residence in Bandar Enstek in Nilai.
He would never have thought that a baby would be born in his Perodua Myvi.
Norhashima’s due date was Dec 7, but she went into labour in the early morning hours of last Saturday. With her husband not being around, it was her father-in-law who came to the rescue.
It was his first time using Uber, which he said he had just downloaded on his smartphone two days before.
“My daughter-in-law was not due till Dec 7. Her husband even planned his outstation trip to be back in time for the birth.
“The first thing that came to mind was to use the Uber app I had just downloaded two days ago.
“I could not drive because of an injury. Hence, I needed someone to drive us to the hospital so that I could care for my daughter-in-law instead,” Jamil said.
It was early in the morning on a Saturday and it would seem unlikely that one could get a car at that hour outside more popular zones, but miracles do happen, as they say.
In this case, Roy was just on his way home, when he accepted the request.
The expectant mother asked to go to Pantai Hospital in Kuala Lumpur to have her baby. It was a 56km-long trip, via the PLUS highway, and Roy duly complied.
And they almost made it … as Jamil describes it.
“We thought there was still time but we were just 5km away when Norhashima gave birth in the car! Everything happened so quickly and the next thing I heard was a baby crying. We were all in shock.
“Roy kept on driving until we reached the hospital. I kept apologising for what had just happened, but Roy was so kind and didn’t make a fuss. He just helped us all the way,” Jamil said.
Naturally, both mother and baby were safely taken care of by medical personnel upon reaching the hospital.
Roy, who was called a “hero” by the elated grandfather, said: “I’ve heard stories about people giving birth in cars, but I never imagined it would happen in my own car.
“It’s incredible. I was just happy to be able to provide a ride for Jamil and his daughter-in-law when they needed it the most.”
The baby, a girl, who is now fondly called “Uber Baby” by the family, is the second child for Norhashima and her husband, Muhammad Syahir Abd Jamil, 27.
“I guess our baby girl had other ideas of how she wanted to enter into this world.
“It’s a unique story that we’ll definitely talk about with her and her older sister for years to come. We are truly thankful to Roy for his help last night,” Norhashima said.
Their older daughter, who is 18 months old, was also a witness to the birth of her new sister in the back seat of the car.
The couple have named their “Uber Baby” Safiyya Auliya’.
Uber Malaysia were happy to waive the cost of the entire ride for Jamil and also covered the cost of the clean-up for Roy’s Myvi. Uber also presented him and his family with a token reward.
Addtionally, Uber Malaysia is giving the family of the newborn 123 free rides.
“We decided to provide the family with 123 free rides, as the baby was born on Dec 3. We believe that the baby will have regular check-ups during the first year of her life, and hopefully this will make it more convenient for her family,” Uber head of communications Leigh Wong said.
Incidentally, this is not something new for Uber worldwide as a quick check on Google showed there were at least five other babies born during an Uber ride in four different cities — New York (twice), Melbourne (Australia), London (UK), and New Delhi (India).