Although I get branded (good-natured ribbing, I hope) that I’m a reklamador (complainer) by a couple of people in my circles, I see myself as a person with great patience — a patience level so tremendous I’ve been also scolded for being too nice even when situations warrant for a display of anger (or so they say). I admit I can have a short fuse at times but those are very rare. I learned this slow-to-anger vibe from my father, emulating his cool demeanor even on tough times. All this means I’m not quick at the draw in using Social Media to express my disgust over a service that is not worthy of the standards set by providers.
The Wifey and I usually take Uber or Grab going to work. It was Friday high noon, heading to Palm Sunday weekend (I had to put that in so you could somewhat picture traffic situation in Metro Manila on a day so many Filipinos are heading off to their respective provinces or vacation destinations for the coming Holy Week break.) I first sought a ride from Uber but the app’s booking process is taking forever and nothing is coming up. Time wasted: 15 minutes. I switched to the Grab app. I got a booking from a driver whose car is situated along Commonwealth Avenue near Tandang Sora. Based on experience, I almost never get cancellations from drivers along this area as it’s just less than a kilometer from my usual designated pick-up point. After a minute or so, I noticed that something’s amiss — the car is not moving, according to my GPS reading.
Then I got a message from the Grab driver:
“Ang layo ng pin mo sir hindi ko po napansin. Nasa Pasig ako.” | [“Your (pick-up point) pin is too far away, sir. I didn’t notice. I’m at Pasig City.”]
So whose fault it is if he “didn’t notice” where I’m booking my ride from? First off, how careless (or stupid, perhaps?) a driver you are, booking a passenger without paying attention to their pick-up point. Second, he’s not really in Pasig. He’s just nearby. This silly alibi of Grab and Uber drivers are just their way of extricating themselves out of a booked ride they’d suddenly refuse to take. Filipino TNVS (Transport Network Vehicle System) drivers are notorious for this pattern of duplicity.
“Wala ka sa Pasig. Nandiyan ka lang sa Commonwealth. Please naman. Hindi naman bobo mga pasahero n’yo, sir.” | [’You’re not in Pasig. You’re just there along Commonwealth. Oh, please. Passengers are not stupid, sir.’]
I basically exposed him and letting him know that I am aware of this MO of rogue TNVS drivers’ pretending to be so far away from their supposed location so passengers can be tricked into canceling rides. But this one is adamant. And it gets better (or worse, I mean):
“Pipicturan ko si wase ngayon sir tapos pagdating ko diyan ss pin mo papakita ko sayo ah. Pag pasig ako nangaling mag aadd ka sa aakin ng fare. Loko loko yang grab app mo. Ang layo naman ng pasig sa commonwealth” | [“I’ll take a screenshot of my Waze now sir, then when I get to your location, I will show you. If I can prove to you that I came from Pasig, you will pay me more than the designated fare. Your Grab app is crazy! Pasig is too far away from Commonwealth!”]
THERE YOU GO! He just wants to be paid more on top of the fare! A scammer! Part of these drivers MO is using previously taken screenshots (captured from various points of Metro Manila) neatly saved in their phones so they can conveniently show their passengers their alleged location in their fraudulent activities. Show you they came from Muntinlupa? Bam! Here’s a screenshot! Prove to you they came from Caloocan when you’re just booking from Makati? Bam! There’s also a screenshot for that, as well! (No, they won’t let you touch their phones so you can inspect the dates of the captures.)
So I’m dealing with a fraudster — a somewhat dumb fraudster. (But dumb fraudsters can be really dangerous as they’re the ones prone to hurting and can be really quick to murder). So I decided to end this transaction:
“I-cancel mo na lang. Huwag kang tatanggap ng booking kung ayaw mo para hindi napeperhuwisyo mga tao sa mga kagaya mo.” | [“Just cancel it. Don’t take passenger bookings you’re not going to honor so passengers like me don’t get inconvenienced by people like you.”)
Slightly miffed. But I’m still cool. I already exposed the thieving driver for his scheme. Yet he still insists he’s in Pasig. But so eager-beaver for an added fee if he can show up at my pick-up point. And as you can see in his reply, I’m starting to get his goat now that I found out his trick. The natural character of the person is starting to show up:
“hindi ko ayaw tarantado yang grab app mo commonwealth nakalagay dyan sayo eh nasa pasig ako.” | [“It’s not that I don’t want to honor your ride, you fool! But your Grab app is showing I’m in Commonwealth when I’m really in Pasig.”]
Okay, so now he’s resorting to bad language. So typical of crooks being outed. At this point, my wife and I decided to take another mode of transportation going to work as this is getting ugly and we are running late. I made another plea for the driver to cancel the ride from his end (since he’s the one who doesn’t want to ferry us anyway). But now he’s insisting that I’m the one to initiate the Cancel procedure. Now, I’m upset, so I got a bit carried away and jabbed at him and unscrupulous taxi drivers notorious for swindling their passengers:
“Yung ayaw bumiyahe ang mag-cancel. Taxi driver ka siguro dati sir ano? Haha!” | [“The one who doesn’t want to honor the trip should be the one to cancel. By the way, perhaps you were a taxi driver before, right, sir? Haha!”]
To round this up, yes, I was late for work. So was the wife. I put my phone in my bag, left the Grab app running. It could truly be a case of GPS going wonky, placing the driver in Commonwealth near Tandang Sora instead of Pasig City, as the driver above keep on insisting. Or it could be what I suspected it to be all along — a scam by drivers so they can swindle their passengers into paying much more than what the riding app mandates. So many similar stories like this going around, even honest TNVS drivers I had chats with while on the road confirmed this MO of some of their corrupt colleagues.
As for the driver? He eventually canceled the booking several minutes after I left my phone unattended. But the scoundrel had the gall to leave this note:
“hindi lahat ng nkkita ng mata tama uy. Tandaan mo yan kaya kaya tigilan mo panghuhusga ng tao, baka diyan ka mapahamak.” | [“Not everything that the eyes see is right. Remember that. So stop judging people, for it could get you into trouble.”)
The Grab driver self-righteously lectured me on judging people after starting to swear and all? And then ended it with a veiled threat? Damn these people! Who are their role models, anyway? So rude and quick to cursing yet pretends to preach in the end? If he is so nice in the first place, then he should have taken the hit and canceled the ride right then and there! That’s part of their rules and regulations. I can’t waste my time on holier-than-thou men who refuse to abide by the law, their company policies, and basic human decency. (Wait. I wrote about him here. So does it mean I wasted my time? Ugh!)