A day in the life of a chiobu FoodPanda delivery rider


Have you ever wondered what a typical day is like for a delivery rider? Nicole, a year 2 chiobu NTU comms student, decided to answer this question by following her mum to work for a day.

“My mum used to be an airport duty manager. She oversaw operations at the various terminals and handled customer service too. When her company put her on no-pay leave, she decided to join FoodPanda. We’re a family of bikers – actually it is quite interesting for my mum, she used to ride in her 20s and it’s been about 30+ years since she last rode.”, Nicole shared excitedly.

Nicole feels really proud of her mum and the work that she does, and rightly so. Elsie is a bubbly chiobu delivery rider and makes her customers’ day by delivering items with a smile. Instead of allowing herself to feel sian (bored) at home, Elsie decided to take on this new job and has been happily doing it for the past 16 months.

chiobu rider Elsie
Strong mama Elsie carrying the heavy bagpack!

Owing to her sporty, outgoing and friendly personality, Elsie enjoys this job as it allows her to befriend many fellow riders (some who are young and handsome, haha!). As a female chiobu rider who is in her 50s, Elsie stands out in this job, which is a positive thing in her opinion.

“People are nicer to female riders. Sometimes we get heavy orders, like having to deliver a sack of rice or bottled drinks. So, we are quite respected for being able to handle the work.”, Elsie shared.

Struggles faced by delivery riders

Elsie enjoys befriending people in her job

On top of having to brave both the heat and rain, the job of a delivery rider is not easy. Sometimes, they meet with less friendly customers who do not show them any appreciation. In addition, there is also a cash on delivery option that may cause some inconvenience for riders.

In Elsie’s experience, the customer once forgot to pay cash upon delivery for an order amounting to $80. For cash on delivery orders, FoodPanda will deduct the amount from the rider’s account as the rider is supposed to collect and keep the cash. Hence, the rider will have to bear the loss if they fail to collect the cash from customers. Luckily for Elsie, her customer was honest, and paid the amount when she returned to collect it the next day after realising that she hadn’t collected the cash.

To help prevent such issues and to provide better welfare for the riders, the National Delivery Champions Association (NDCA) is looking into improving the situation. They are currently receiving feedback from riders to better understand how they may help prevent or resolve any scams relating to these cash on delivery incidents.

What the future for Elsie holds

chiobu driver Elsie
How are you in your 50s, cute and chiobu Elsie mama?!

Elsie fully enjoys her FoodPanda job but is waiting for the COVID-19 situation to improve. She plans to eventually return to her job as an airport duty manager when the borders are open. She shares that she will still wish to do FoodPanda deliveries on her off days even after resuming her airport job though. That goes to show how much she loves her food delivery job!

Apart from looking after the interests and welfare of delivery riders, NCDA also gives members $250 yearly in training subsidies under the NTUC Union Training Assistance Programme (UTAP). This means that members can undergo relevant courses before they embark on their next job. For Elsie, she could take the opportunity to attend courses that could help further her career before she returns as an airport duty manager.

What the daughter of a delivery rider would like you to know

“I hope people realise that delivery riders aren’t of a lower status. There are engineers, pilots, and people from all walks of life doing FoodPanda. The job has given them an option during the pandemic to feed their families and I think they deserve respect too.”, Nicole shared.

We couldn’t agree more. Everyone deserves to be respected for the honest job that they do. Be it cleaners, security officers, food delivery riders or hawkers – everyone is working hard to support their families.

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