My Unusual Stories with Online Drivers — Part #1

Husni B.
5 min readAug 13, 2021

The proliferation of online taxi applications known as Ojol which stands for Ojek Online has been quite significant in recent years in Indonesia. It’s because they have many traits that help the daily work of their users, such as ordering food, purchasing groceries, delivering goods, and the most attractive is the online taxi service itself.

However, what I will highlight is on the driver's side or someone who deals directly with users of the services. Most of them come from the middle to lower class, but some are just hobbies and to fill their spare time from their actual work.

As a user, I socialize with them often so I have a lot of stories behind their background as drivers who are sometimes looked down upon by people. I got a lot of enlightenment from their openness telling their life behind their job as a driver which made me respect them more and even I felt their state was nobler than myself.

Here I will tell you some of the many unusual experiences that absolutely left a mark on me to relive them today. Even though I don’t remember their names, but the experience is memorable. Get your comfy chair, grab some snacks, and let’s dive into it.

#1 Assisted by an Interior Designer

In mid-2018, our grade promotion report cards were being distributed. Those who fit certain measures will pass to the next grade of class and if not, they will stay. Taken by parents or students trustee is one of the terms for taking it, students are not allowed to take it directly.

Sadly, my parents didn't make it, so the only choice was the boarding house owner where I lived as my trustee. However, luck was not on my side (Well I‘m not surprised, because it was less friendly with me), it was my last day at the boarding house because there was a slight dispute with the owner. So right on that day, I moved after deciding a few months before.

A little cunning clever brain appears. I planned to accuse an online car taxi service to ‘impersonate’ my trustee for a small tip of cash at the end. I ordered the car to my school as a destination only 500 meters from my boarding house in the morning. After some minutes, the car came to my boarding house as a pick-up point. Then I opened the front door next to the driver to make it easier for me to negotiate later.

Heartbeats pretty fast, imagining whether the driver accepts my favor or not. After a few anxious negotiations, His face looked doubtful and unpleasant to look at, showing that he would refuse my offer. Sure enough, he didn’t accept my offer due to a tip he thought was lack. It’s not like what was planned, then I just got rode to the destination and didn’t have any idea what to do next. As I mentioned before, it seems like Fortuna really fucks on me.

I paid the charge with my pale face then opened the door and thanked him for the ride. Then I went to the canteen which happened to be quite quiet at that time to think for a moment what I would do next. While pondering, I randomly saw from another side of the canteen, my friend and his parents were conversing while reviewing the report card they had just taken. Suddenly my tears fell, why was this today was so annoying. Oh God, why the fuck did you show it right to me?

Due to nearing the end of the schedule and the time keeps running. Desperately, I thought of going to the teacher as is and try not to meet with my friends so that they don’t ask me why I came alone without being accompanied by my parents or a trustee.

While meeting my teacher, I told her why no one was there for me and of course, I hid my previous illegal-move-story. Then my teacher asked for a call with my parents on my phone, I don’t know what they were talking about because I chose to leave the room not to listen to it. After being asked to go back into her room, she gave me some counsel on my diminished learning results which she said was due to my busy world at organizations and other outside school activities. And still, according to the rules, I went home empty-handed without bringing a report card.

Trying to move on from the previous incident, I packed all my things which would be moved to the new boarding house that I had appointed a few months earlier. More decent rooms, friendly owners, adequate facilities, and much cheaper made me choose it, but the distance is quite far from my school.

During the day, with some wounds from the previous incident. I took the liberty to order an online car taxi service again to help me carry my stuff in his car. After getting a driver, this time I asked him to do my favor via chat messenger while he was on the way so when he refused I could cancel it right away and it would certainly save my time a lot.

What a surprise, he was greatly open to helping me. Even when he came to me, he helped carry my things to his car with no question. While on the way, I told him the unfortunate incident that happened to me before. Then I asked him why he was so kind to me, and he answered by saying to me that sometimes he feels that those who ask him for the hands really need them. Because not everyone wants to help. In fact, in some cases, a person has to try repeatedly to order from different drivers for help but they refuse and the refusal ends in him that accepting to help them.

Curiously, I asked him whether being a driver is his main or side job. He returned that his main job was interior design, and being a driver is a side job when there are no projects currently being work on and waiting for the project to come. When he told me what he was doing as an interior design, it didn’t feel like we had reached our destination, my new boarding house where I would stay for the next couple of years.

Without even asking, he dropped his hand to help carry my things to my room. After all the job is done. He allowed me to save his number just in case I needed his hands again. I thanked him deeply for his help and then I shook his hand and at the same time gave the payment, which of course I had overpaid and forced him to accept it. Coincidentally, it’s happened during the month of Ramadan, I also told him that I had put a snack to break the fast later on the dashboard of his car which I had stored secretly when he was carrying my things.

What a day for me. Begins with a stressful day until the sad one, and closes with a pleasant day and worthful that enough to heal my feelings of sadness at the beginning of the day.

We can’t perceive the meaning of happiness if we don’t know what sadness feels like. We can feel the pleasure of breathing on the ground after feeling so tight of our lungs hold our breath while diving underwater.

Continued in part #2