Road Heroes

With much of the country, especially Metro Manila in some form of a lockdown due to the COVID 19 pandemic and millions of us are still restricted in our travels as well as countless businesses and stores are also in a state of limbo themselves, may I ask you how you are surviving  this “annus horribilis”?

Well one answer could be because we have home delivery services that work out to a T. Just look outside your window or get a glimpse of the streets and you are likely to see a motorcycle rider or car laden with food or packages whizzing by or pushing the doorbell to your next-door neighbor’s gate and shouting: “Delivery.”

Welcome to the new age of door-to-door service. And say hello to the drivers or riders who made all this work: our road heroes or the people who brought you your food, medicines, groceries and stuff to cheer you up in these tough times. 

Delivery service companies in the country have been riding high since the onset of the pandemic, expanding their services and operations to meet the growing demand of customers and businesses. Companies like Grab, Lalamove, Mr. Speedy and J&T Express among others, have seen their brands turn into household names as they became the go-to partners of businesses and customers alike during this ongoing health crisis. The pandemic has changed the way we trade and shop – putting greater reliance on digital services, contributing to the growth of home delivery and e-payments services.

Who could have imagined all these changes happening just a year ago when it seems that December 2019 was just a fine time to do your last-minute shopping in crowded malls and get into your car for a stay with family and friends outside the city. I remember taking a quick break with my family in Baguio last December of 2019 and now it seems like a distant past. 

To celebrate the heroic and admirable efforts of our road heroes, Grab brought together the Filipino community – of customers, brands, and businesses to celebrate the invaluable contributions of the tens of thousands of drivers and delivery-riders across different platforms in the Philippines in celebration of the Araw ng Tagapaghatid (AT) last November 29. The celebration is in recognition to the thousands of “unknown heroes” whose work and dedication have made life easier and livable despite the dislocation of everyday routines when we could go normally to shop, to eat out, to hang out with friends, to do the things that we do in all these years until the pandemic put a sudden brake to all those things we consider “normal.”

Another remarkable thing is that the corporate world, the business community themselves joined this celebration of our road heroes by pitching in to show appreciation to these men and women whose efforts have “saved” many businesses from going under due to the absence of buyers or customers that left our malls and store venues virtually empty or sparsely visited in these past several months. Food industry giants McDonald’s Philippines and Jollibee Food Corporation (JFC) joined forces to provide free meals to driver and delivery partners throughout the country. So many brands have joined this celebration by way of pitching in their products as donation or raffle prizes to our road heroes. 

Now that we are in the season of giving, perhaps our road heroes also should be on our Christmas list as well. Our way of thanking them for their outstanding effort will most likely cheer them and maybe a bit more  “tip” over the bill that comes with your delivery package. More so, for a little prayer that our delivery drivers and riders are always safe in our roads so that they and their families may enjoy this Holiday season as they have been instrumental for making this time of the year for us more enjoyable through their hard-work and dedication. Grab Philippines Country Head Grace Vera Cruz put it well when she said, “Drivers and delivery-riders are our modern-day heroes. They take on enormous risks to provide us with our everyday essentials and safely bring us to our intended destinations. Most importantly, our drivers and delivery-riders have helped businesses and our economy to power through the very difficult phases of our country’s history – be it during the pandemic or when facing natural disasters.”

“Delivery!” Don’t you just love the sound of it? It may well be placed on record as one of the most anticipated words for many of us in 2020. 

Peachy Vibal – Guioguio is a PR strategist who has lead communications departments in GMA Network, ABS-CBN, and TV5. She enjoys long drives, taking scenic routes, and finds a thrill going wherever she pleases behind a wheel. She has yet to learn how to replace a flat tire.

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