Fancy getting into a child friendly taxi in Singapore? Well, it never occured to us before this evening what a cab ride was capable of. Usually, we get into a cab, gauge the mood of the driver(especially because we travel with kids), get the aircon set to colder(this is only my personal requirement) and request for doors to be locked. And we come across all sorts of drivers(just like they come across all sorts of passengers) like rude, friendly, talkative, serious, selling free advise and so on and so forth.
Now, if you are part of the new gen travellers that rely on Grab or Uber, you are sure to land into a boring experience that leaves you feeling like some character from Star Trek(the best sci-fi series I remember watching as a kid) that gets transported from point A to point B at the snap of fingertips. And while you don’t get to know the driver because he is zipped up and almost robotic, he/she doesn’t want to know you either. These mostly young cabbies maintain their cars immaculately well and keep them smelling fresh, unlike some of their SMRT/Comfort Delgro counterparts that welcome you with Makan(food, especially rice) odour.
Grab and Uber cars make you feel like you are in outer space while the driver is chasing the Grab Dream – ‘Drive with us for a couple of hours everyday and own the car you love!!’ And if none of you have seen this line on your emails before, I will feel exposed; like the only one with dreams, that got hacked into by Grab. Creepy!!
The other cabbies are fairly normal guys that talk. After all, nobody turns to this business because they love seeing new faces, but talking is a human need. And those that are too engrossed in parenting eventually end up writing so there is at least one way communication!
So coming back to this evening, we were lucky to spot a regular old school cab with a not so old driver. I was the last one to enter the cab and settle in as always. And before I could realise, I found the girls discussing and comparing stickers. I started looking around and was pleasantly surprised to find the interiors of the cab done up with stickers. All 4 doors, the front panel, around the air-con, everywhere! There were stickers for girls and stickers for boys. And my girls felt fascinated and excited. The only walls where stickers are otherwise allowed in the entire universe is their own bedroom. And this was a cab. They never once asked me for the Android or thought of picking a fight(their usual pass time) through the journey. They felt at home. The younger one was quick to whisper, “This is the best taxi in Singapore. I love it!!”
The driver was cheerful and kid friendly too. He went on narrating his experiences with other passengers with kids. He was pleased my girls were ‘well mannered’ and stayed in their seats through the ride. He was happy to hear what my girls had to say about his cab and offered them to bring back a sticker each before alighting. This was an unbelievable offer. The girls could hardly wait for the destination to arrive while the better half reminded the driver it was a good idea not to stock Pokemon stickers, lest he would experience a high turnout thanks to game addicted adults.
With tons of thanks and good byes, we headed out of the cab, happy, filled with yet another unique experience in our journey of life. The girls were now the proud owners of two most precious stickers they had ever owned.
Some things in life take us by surprise. And they have absolutely nothing to do with money or success. They leave us feeling good and refreshed and averse to hard feelings. My girls and me paused for a moment to think, ‘We didn’t even note the number of that cab. How will we ever find that beautiful cab again?’
If you happen to find it, please let the uncle know the family from Tampines would love to get another ride soon !!