We booked a Grab* car to take us from The Fat Prince, where we had a leisurely lunch, back to the office. The car itself was unremarkable. But then I noticed several tubes of L’Occitane hand cream in black car organizers that hung behind both front seats.
That wasn’t all. The organizer pockets held miniature bottles of Prada perfume (“The latest release!” Mr. Grab bragged), tins of mint candy, and tubs of Body Shop lotion (it looked like shea butter and almond). There were phone charging cords for iPhone and Android models free to use. Best of all, there was a cooler with chilled, sweet jasmine tea we could help ourselves to. “Feel free!” Mr. Grab urged.
I was very impressed (“I’m giving you five stars, Uncle!”) but my colleague was ever the skeptic. “Are you crazy? This eats into your profit margins, no?”
“That’s okay, la,” said Mr. Grab. “It’s not about how much I earn but how good I serve.” He told us about how he used to give out cigarettes and wine (!) but had to stop because they (who’s “they”, I wonder) told him he needed a liquor license to do that. Even if he was giving it away for free.
We continued to probe. Why was he doing this? What’s in it for him? Mr. Grab kept smiling all the while, and ended our trip (since we were already at our destination) by saying there was “no price on smiles.” He looked genuinely pleased we were enjoying his car. “I’ll be getting a Mercedes soon,” he shared. “Soon I’ll be able to give you all a much better ride than this.”
After we got off my colleague gave me a “what an idiot” look and started walking towards the lifts.
I found out his name (Thomas) and took down his number. You don’t get drivers like him everyday.
* A ride-hailing app like Uber. Pretty popular here in Singapore.