Delivery lady with cerebral palsy

Unlike other deliverers who ‘run’ to deliver their food on time, Ms Sumaiyah, 40, goes through her everyday tasks on a wheelchair. Source: Nur Humaira Sajat

Like any other food deliverers, Ms Sumaiyah Ghazali is willing to travel under the scorching hot sun and the cold rain to ensure the food is safely delivered to the customer’s doorstep.

However, unlike other deliverers who ‘run’ to deliver their food on time, Ms Sumaiyah, 40, go through her everyday tasks on a wheelchair.

Despite being diagnosed with cerebral palsy and is unable to walk ever since her birth, her physical disadvantages have never been a hindrance for her to be independent and for her to give back to society.

“I am unable to walk, but with this wheelchair… it’s akin to my legs. At least, I can move, I can work,” said Ms Sumaiyah who started to work as a deliverer with GrabFood since four months ago.

The eldest among four agrees that her siblings who were born normal and have high income are able to cover her living expenses.

However, Ms Sumaiyah wants to make a living on her own.

“If I don’t work, and only my siblings work, I will feel as though I’m useless.

“I do not want to burden anyone, they have to take care of me… till when?” she said.

Ms Sumaiyah has worked in the administration line at an office before, but her fingers were weak which made typing difficult.

Because of that, she decided to switch jobs to a food deliverer with GrabFood.

Ms Sumaiyah works five days and spends six to eight hours a day.

During an interview with Berita Harian (BH), Ms Sumaiyah shared that one of the challenges was to ensure food is delivered on fast and on time.

Besides getting around in a wheelchair, Ms Sumaiyah also takes the public transport to reach further destinations beyond her place in Tampines.

She has received a complaint regarding food delay, but upon reaching the destination, the customer understood and empathise her condition.

Now, Ms Sumaiyah ensures that she informs her customers that she’s disabled to avoid misunderstanding.

“I feel satisfied when I manage to send food orders on time…

“I feel good when I deliver food to people, this means my service is useful to the community…

“Don’t just sit down and do nothing,” she added.

This article by Nur Humaira Sajat was originally published by Berita Harian on April 4, 2019.

Published on April 4, 2019, journalist Nur Humaira Sajat’s story in Berita Harian drew attention to the disabled community who makes a living out of food delivery. Inspired by a cerebral palsy lady who earns a living through food delivery, and gets around via a wheelchair, Humaira decided to highlight a day in a life of the disabled woman. She said: “With the society’s growing dependence on food delivery – receiving their food at their doorstep in the quickest time possible – many are not aware of the challenges faced by the minority who are disabled and have difficulties moving around quickly. We barely hear a first hand account of a disabled delivery rider.” Getting Ms Sumaiyah Ghazali to share her story was not easy. It was only after days of convincing and a few phone conversations that Ms Sumaiyah agreed to open up. The journalist then followed her around on foot and public transport as she does her deliveries around Tampines estate. Humaira witnessed the challenges faced and the resilience Ms Sumaiyah had in ensuring she delivers food on time despite the limitations of her condition and the wheelchair. After running the video and story, positive messages flooded the comments section of the story, and many shared the video while spreading appreciation messages to the disabled like Ms Sumaiyah who displays hardwork and determination despite their setbacks. Humaira said: “Emotional stories that tug on the heartstrings make people empathise more easily. Even though only one individual is highlighted, the story can be representative of the disabled community, and hopefully this can foster values like patience and understanding especially in a fast-paced society like Singapore.”