KOTA KINABALU: Mohd Aidil Pulian, 34, is a Foodpanda delivery man. But he is no ordinary delivery man on a bike. He pedals his BMX bicycle for hours on end to get food to people – and to put food on his family’s table.
Aidil, who prefers to be known as Ben, would ride his bicycle as far as 30km a day just to earn enough to provide for his wife and two children.
Getting to work is in itself a long haul. “I live in Bambangan, Inanam (about 10km from Kota Kinabalu) and I need to cycle to Kota Kinabalu for work every day because that is the checkpoint before we start our food delivery services.
Ben said he had worked as a tour guide, but his monthly salary was reduced, as the centre still cannot operate.
“After my income was affected following the pandemic, I was forced to do this work because I have a family to feed,” he told FMT.
He said he was still getting a salary from the tour company but it was only RM600 a month. This was nowhere near enough to sustain his life now that he has a family of his own.
“At the start, I was working in the food delivery services without any kind of vehicle, being called the ‘panda walker’.
“After a few months, I took out a bit of money to buy a bicycle because, during the movement control order, there are not many buses operating in the city centre.
“That is why I bought a bicycle so it would make my journeys a little more convenient, even though it is rather tiring,” he said.
Ben said that among his challenges in becoming a cycling food panda rider, was needing to pedal for great distances to deliver food packages.
“Aside from that, there are also some other challenges, including being chased by dogs, and sometimes some other food delivery guys on motorcycles (who are referred to as ‘panda riders’). They are not happy with the presence of ‘panda walkers’.
“They claim we are spoiling their business, especially if the food orders are within shorter distances.
“But I just take all of these as normal challenges working in food delivery. I would just tell the few ‘panda riders’ who do not like us, that we are all just trying to make a living. We do not intend on disturbing their business.
“My monthly income as a ‘panda walker’ is not even that big, only about RM800 to RM1,000. But it is enough to add on here and there (on top of his existing salary) to provide for myself and my family,” he said.
A photograph of Ben cycling that was uploaded by a Facebook user went viral on social media today.
The picture, uploaded by a netizen “Fareed Aydrus” was shared by more than 200 users and received almost 50 comments.
“Speaking on Foodpanda, I still respect this brother (Ben Kerasti Pangazou). He cycles on his BMX bicycle from the Kionsom area in Inanam to KK just to deliver for Foodpanda. Very far, eh?
“And not just once, many times. How do I know? Because I have gone to Kionsom in the mornings to distribute aid and I would see him cycling to leave the area. Every evening he would pass the Bandaraya Mosque.
“MashaAllah, his efforts just to make a living is incredible. Very impressed with brothers and sisters working for Foodpanda, Grabfood and all the other runners too. They are very strong-willed,” the netizen said in the Facebook posting.
Similarly, many other comments had also praised Ben’s hard work.
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