THE story of Grab car driver Vadamalay Thiruchelvam (Selvan), is one that tugs at the heartstrings.
A chance encounter led him to pick up Mrs Raja, an old neighbour whom he had forgotten.
As he drove her home, they both recalled the good old days, and he remembered how Mrs Raja doted on him and his siblings when they were young.
His earlier frustrations about traffic and the daily grind simply melted away as he stayed on to catch up with her, having tea and treats just as he always had when he was a child.
This is one of nine stories captured in the Driving Malaysia comic initiated by ride-hailing app brand, Grab.
Published by Maple Comics, the tales in the comic is loosely inspired by the true experience shared by different Grab drivers.
“Every Grab driver has a story to tell and it is easy for us to sometimes take them for granted.
“This book pays homage to the hundreds of thousands of Grab drivers, not just in Malaysia but also in other countries for their tireless service to our passengers,” said Grab Malaysia country manager Jaygan Fu.
Grab communications manager Regina Robin said this initiative is also part of a bigger “Ride the Arts” programme the company is venturing into to promote local art.
“We’re more than just getting people from point A to point B now, we’re part of the Malaysian culture.
“This comic is just our first step in reflecting the landscape we serve in that’s full of diversity, art and different aspects of culture,” she shared.
Maple Comics publisher Amir Hafizi said the company first received a bunch of stories that were moving.
“A lot of them were funny and uplifting; we’re not just focused on the poignant ones.
“After we shortlisted the stories, we paired them with artists whom we knew were most suited to bring out the content,” he said.
Among the artists commissioned to draw were Azwanjjai, Max Loh and Jon Suraya.
Amir also noted the importance of highlighting these stories for the human touch.
“Grab doesn’t only provide a ride-hailing service, it has become a cultural touchstone.
“Every time you ride, there’s a story with the driver and the comic seeks to bring out the humanities of these drivers,” he said.
“These are stories about us.”
In conjunction with the comic book launch, Grab introduced four ComiCars wrapped in some of the drawings.
“These cars will be hidden in the Grabcar Economy feed that will roam the Klang Valley until Dec 18.
The first 200 lucky passengers who booked the ride received a free copy of the comic.
Grab also gave 500 copies of the comic at the Comic Fiesta 2016 at PWTC on Dec 17 and 18.
The comic will also be available at selected bookshops or through the Maple Comics website at maplecomics.com.my at RM20 each.