Sunday, July 1, 2007

A Long Wait for Passengers

Former chicken noodles vendors turned motorbike taxi drivers Ahmad and Khairul are seen fighting their droopy eyes waiting for passengers around Barito area. These natives Kemanggisan need to have at least 25 passengers per day to cover their families' needs, by using only one motorbike.

Ahmad and Khairul have known each other since they were infants. "We always got each other's back", said Khairul while biting a piece of green chili to accompany a big bite of baked rice wrapped in a piece of banana leaf. "When the rumor of rat meat was being used in our chicken noodles spread out, our customers left us and with very little money we are financing this baby boy together and trying to make money out of it", Ahmad later added while lovingly stroking the charcoal colored motorbike's seat. These two perfectly tanned individuals needed to submit a staggering 500,000 rupiahs for the down payment and another staggering 300,000 rupiahs every month for financing the exclusive two-wheeled beauty. A shocking value to be spent for only one item, indeed.

These two hard-workers have their own special way in attracting passengers; they touch the individual qualities of every passerby they meet, and steal their hearts. While other motorbike taxi drivers often times pointing their index fingers to the air indicating their availability to take passengers to their desired destinations, Ahmad and Khairul prefer to smile and point at their perfectly shined motorbike with their palms facing up and doing the please movement. Politeness is the key to get passengers. "This method has proven to work", exclaimed Khairul, now while consuming a piece of fried banana fresh from a pond of black, thick and hot cooking oil from a nearby snack vendor. However, their biggest challenge is, of course, they need to share one motorbike. "We have our own unique way to solve that problem, we let the passengers decide!", they shouted passionately with the sweetest grins on their faces. Ahmad and Khairul explained that each time a passenger comes and asks for their service the passenger will be asked to choose between them two to be the driver of the motorbike . "This is the only fair way to do it, and this makes us dress up to the nines everyday", Ahmad said. A very unique way, indeed. This explains the ever shiny balding scalp of Khairul that is polished with 50 cc of Mandom product every morning and the astonishing flat-front khakis Pasar Baru-made that Ahmad wears everyday to their work place, the Barito junction.

Around the high noon tea time like this is when the time goes very slow for Ahmad and Khairul. "I figure that people are busy in their offices while students are busy with their classes while the lazy-asses are sleeping in their huts, that's why there aren't so many people wondering around looking for means of transportation around this time of the day", stated Khairul. "This is when we catch-up with what happened with our kids, wives or life in general", Khairul added. They share stories as if they were soulmate; laughter and friendly punches on the chins indicating the solid friendship.

Ahmad and Khairul's friendship is the perfect case of unselfish behavior in a workplace. Though sharing a motorbike to make ends meet appears to be impossible for some, Ahmad and Khairul pull it off. They set the perfect example of sharing is caring, and we need to follow their footsteps.


Denica said...

that is one hell of a heart warming article. never thought ojek drivers could think that way, how remarkable. too bad the other impolite drivers ruined their images, leaving them as minorities.

isnuansa_maharani said...

never heard story like this before, even i lived in Jakarta...