A cab driver like Gan See Kiet is a rare find. That’s because despite working 15 hours a day, Gan makes it a point to spare a thought for the less fortunate by waiving their fares. In fact, the 52-year-old also sets aside some money for charity each month.
Affectionately known as Uncle Gan, the cabbie believes in sowing seeds of happiness.
“In making others happy, I too, feel happy,” said Gan, when we met for an interview recently.
A driver with a ride-hailing app, Gan is also an ambassador for the #JOMTEKSI initiative under Touch ‘n Go eWallet based on his good performance as a taxi driver and positive feedback from passengers.
His role is to educate other taxi drivers (aside from passengers) to adopt cashless payments. This initiative gives several incentives to drivers, including a reward of RM4 for each passenger who uses the eWallet.
From Kuala Pilah, Negri Sembilan, Gan’s parents died when he was young and life was challenging for him and his nine siblings. Gan is the eighth child in the family.
In 1985, he moved to Kuala Lumpur and at one point, worked as a sales and marketing manager for 10 years. He became a full-time taxi driver four years ago due to a sluggish economy.
It was two years ago when Gan first performed a good deed, which left him feeling happy. He had picked up an elderly woman accompanying a blind person who wanted to go to the nearest LRT station. Gan refused to take their money for the fare.
Subsequently, he waived the fares of many other blind passengers, even giving a college student RM10 once as pocket money, admiring him for pursuing his dream despite his disability.
To date, Gan has not charged his passengers about 30 times, and they included the sick, blind and the elderly.
“It’s a way for me to give back to community,” said Gan, adding that he hopes more people would give a helping hand to those in need.
He has another noble habit – he would keep the small change from grocery shopping and also set aside another RM50 a month to give to charity.
Another part of his job that the amiable Gan enjoys is talking to his passengers, who come from all walks of life. He shared that these conversations spice up his day and help him get to know them better.
Because of his honesty and pleasant personality, many passengers have become his regular customers and foreign passengers have also hired him to take them outstation.
However, there are times when Gan gets cheated by passengers who take off without paying him.
“It’s my nasib (Malay for “fate”). We can always earn back the money but one’s safety is more important. I am just thankful that I am safe,” he said.
Gan starts his day early in the morning and finishes at about 10pm.
Sometimes, if he is around the neighbourhood, he would drop by his brother’s house in Putra Heights, Subang Jaya. He uses this short break to catch a nap and also bond with his brother’s children.
Currently living in Kepong, Gan married late and has no children as yet. His wife, 45, works as a clerk and helps him keep a record of his daily earnings and also the money for charity.
“Once, I asked forgiveness from my wife for working long hours, leaving little time to spend with her,” Gan confessed.
Nonetheless, the big-hearted cabbie continues to feel blessed in life and remains grateful for an understanding wife as well as a satisfying job.