PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - A GrabCar driver's effort to go above and beyond the call of duty by offering passengers free water and candy is warming the hearts of Malaysians.
Passengers who step into Mr Abu Talib Mohd Ali's white Myvi will be pleasantly surprised to find the backseat filled with bottles of water, an assortment of treats, and a friendly sign offering phone chargers and any radio station of their choice.
News of Mr Abu Talib's impeccable service first went viral when happy customer Nina Qistina shared photos of his GrabCar on Twitter.
"When I arrived at my destination, he gave me more sweets and wafer bars for snacks. 'It's free!' he said, " Nina wrote in her post that has garnered over 55,600 retweets.
Mr Abu Talib told The Star that he purposely bought the chocolate wafer bars all the way from Selayang as that specific brand of chocolate wafer would remind many customers of their childhood.
Mr Abu Talib, who has been a GrabCar driver for 11 months, added that many of his customers were very happy to receive that chocolate wafer.
His reason for going the extra mile is simple: to thank his customers for supporting him.
"My main purpose for giving water and sweets to my customers, especially for Muslim customers, is because they are supporting my livelihood, so I am indirectly sharing my livelihood with them," he said.
"For non-Muslim customers, it is my gesture to thank them for supporting Grab and helping me earn a living," he added.
Mr Abu Talib is in his late 50s and retired from working in a bank last June. After retirement, he wasted no time and immediately started a new career as a GrabCar driver.
"After I retired, I thought that this (ride-sharing business) is an industry that can help me to continue making a living," he said.
He is thankful that his income from becoming a GrabCar driver has been sufficient for him to spend a little extra on the gifts for his customers.
"If they (my customers) are happy receiving what I give them, then I have achieved my purpose," he said.
More importantly, he thanked his wife who helps him to refill the car with the sweets and bottled water every morning before he sets off for work.
GrabCar and GrabTaxi head of Klang Valley operations, Ms Wan Khye Theng, applauded Mr Abu Talib for taking the initiative to go the extra mile.
"I think it's amazing (what he is doing). It is not an expectation for all drivers but imagine if you walk into a GrabCar and you get free snacks and free drinks, it just really lifts up your spirit," Ms Wan said.
"We are extremely proud of him and we would encourage all of our drivers to do that if they have the capabilities to do so and want to share and make their passengers feel happy," she added.
She encouraged passengers to share their stories when they meet other kind drivers like Mr Abu Talib so they can award the drivers for their generosity.