It was raining heavily on the morning of 12 Jan. I couldn’t find a taxi. When I finally got one at around 7:45 am, he cancelled on me because he could not wait for my kids.

“Yes I’m coming down, my kids are wearing their shoes. Give me two minutes,” I had told the taxi driver.

By the time I went down, the taxi had left.

I managed to book another one and that was when I met Mr Cai Jia Xiang. He looked like he was in his early 30s and was very well mannered and helpful.

“One destination only?” he asked.

“Yes, thank you,” I replied.

By the time I reached my daughters’ school, it was about 8:30 am and the rain was getting heavier. I have three children aged 4 to 6. For me to send my two girls to the school gate, I had to take my boy, the youngest, along too.

As I was about to jump out, Mr Cai asked: “You got an umbrella? Nevermind, I’ll get one for you. Your son can stay inside the car.”

So I got out with my daughters and left my son in the taxi with Mr Cai.

When I returned less than 5 minutes later, my son was already crying and looking for me.

“Don’t worry I understand. I have a kid who is in Primary 1. I don’t know how you can handle all three. Not working?” Mr Cai asked.

“I resigned recently. But I have a job interview today. Hope everything will be okay. By the way, can you send me to the opposite block?” I replied.

“Where are you going? It’s raining heavily. Nevermind, let me send you. It’s difficult to walk in the rain,” Mr Cai said.

“Yes, you can send me to block 501D and I can also drop off there,” I answered.

We were talking in a mix of English and Malay and while Mr Cai’s Malay wasn’t the best, I appreciated that we could chat so easily!

After dropping my son off at his preschool, I wanted to alight as well since I had already made two stops and the taxi fare was starting to get higher. But to be honest, I wasn’t prepared for the heavy rain. How was I supposed to get home on my own with no umbrella?

Going the extra mile

So with a heavy heart, I continued my journey in Mr Cai’s taxi. “There goes my money”, I thought to myself.

“Where is your interview?” Mr Cai asked suddenly.

“It’s at Hougang in the afternoon, but I’m not sure where. I’ll Google it later,” I replied.

“No worries, I’ll help you find. Give me the address…See here, when you are going back to Woodlands, you can take bus 161…” Mr Cai directed, pointing to his phone.

He had stopped the taxi by the side of the road and found me the bus to take to go for my interview at Hougang! It was really sweet of him but in my head, I was thinking about how my taxi fare was increasing every minute. So I quickly replied: “Ah yes, I’ll find it later, but thank you!”

I really appreciate the extra mile he went to try and show me which bus I could take. What a good man!

The rain was still heavy when Mr Cai drove me back to my place in Woodlands.

Looking at the meter, the fare seemed like I had travelled to Ang Mo Kio when I had just gone to Sembawang.

When I was about to pay him, he said: “No worries, you can just pay me $10. Keep the rest.”

“No, it’s your livelihood. Let me pay you $15.”

“No need. $10 is enough. You are also seeking a livelihood like me. The rest you can use to buy food for your children. Don’t worry about me. I also have a child. I know it’s hard.”

I was very hesitant, I felt bad for paying him less even though Mr Cai was very thoughtful and had gone out of his way to help me. At the same time, I was thankful. He was willing to let me pay just $10 so I could save more.

“Good luck with your interview later!” Mr Cai said with a thumbs up and a smile behind his mask when I alighted.

It was still raining but he literally lit up my day.

Thank you, Mr Cai. May God bless you with many blessings. May you have more customers. I pray for your safety. It’s very heartwarming to know there are people who are willing to help you even during this period of time.

Noor Shakila

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