ComfortDelGro apologises on behalf of taxi driver who mocked man for his looks

Singaporean Hanz Medina, who was mocked by a taxi driver for his looks.
Singaporean Hanz Medina, who was mocked by a taxi driver for his looks. PHOTO: HANZ MEDINA

SINGAPORE - ComfortDelGro has taken one of its taxi drivers to task for mocking a man for his looks.

Singaporean actor and stuntman Hanz Medina, who also works as a perfumer, told The Straits Times that he was heading for a martial arts class and had hailed a taxi near Owen Road at around 2.20pm last Friday (July 17).

But instead of allowing Mr Medina to board, the driver stared at him before making a derogatory gesture with his hand (used in some circles to indicate that a person was a transvestite) and drove off.

That was not the end of the matter. The driver then made a U-turn further down the road and drove his taxi slowly past Mr Medina again while performing the same gesture.

"I'm used to people using such gestures on me due to my long hair, small frame and feminine facial features," said Mr Medina, who is in his 20s.

"But what really hit me hard was the fact that he took the trouble to drive back and mock me again. I felt I had to speak up."

He then filed a formal complaint with ComfortDelGro, which responded with an apology and assurances that action had been taken against the offending driver.

"In their line of work, our drivers are expected to convey passengers without any element of stigmatism," wrote a customer service officer in a letter seen by The Straits Times.

"At no time should the driver have ever flashed any derogatory gesture at you. His personal beliefs should not interfere or worse still, affect his ability to carry out his job effectively."

The officer added that the driver had been "rebuked for his disgraceful actions" and the taxi operator had issued him with an official warning for not picking up a passenger despite his taxi being available for hire.

"We will now monitor him closely and any similar transgressions committed by him can result in the termination of his hiring contract with us," the letter said.

Mr Medina said he was very grateful for the company's reply.

"It's a very good example of excellent customer service and how fellow human beings should treat each other," he said.