SPUNK OVERCOMES ALL: RETIRED IRB OFFICER, SHE BECOMES A GRAB DRIVER AT 72 AFTER BAD INVESTMENT

MOST retired people would rather spend their golden years embarking on a cruise of a lifetime, or take up a new sport, or indulge in a hobby.

But for 72-year-old Rasamany Vettivelu, her time is spent getting people to their destination safely.

The former assessment officer who worked for the Inland Revenue Board for 39 years, is now a Grab driver, a job which she had no choice but to take on because of financial constraints.

However, she has come to enjoy the job very much.

“Thanks to the amazing people I meet every day, it helps me forget why I had to do it in the first place. I have grown to love it.

“I have made so many friends from all over the world and shared information, knowledge and experiences with them.

“Everyone has problems and stories to share; but it is how we persevere and make the best of what life has to offer that makes it all interesting,’’ said Rasamany.

Although the enterprising pensioner has a positive attitude, life after retirement was for her wrought with misery and mistakes, which ultimately led her to work with the ride-hailing platform.
“A few years ago, I made a bad decision to invest some RM500,000 of my EPF and life savings in a gold investment company.

“I lost everything. With no savings, I had to go back to work at the ripe age of 70,” she related.

But no one would hire her.

In June 2016, Rasamany was introduced to Grab by a friend.

“It was interesting. All I had to do was drive people around, and the plus point was that I had the flexibility to work whenever I wanted.

“The best thing about it is that I get to be my own boss,’’ she said.

Initially, Rasamany started driving around the Jalan Kelang Lama area and Seri Petaling, where she lived with her 80-year-old husband.

Later on, she moved out of her comfort zone and started exploring the city centre, such as Bukit Bintang and KLCC.

“I was not very good with Waze (navigation app) initially, but it turned out to be my best friend, except when it rains, then it’s my enemy,’’ she said with a laugh.

“Most of the time it’s good, I have never encountered a rude passenger, maybe because when people look at me they probably see their mother or grandmother.’’

Rasamany, however, said she was annoyed with passengers cancelling rides when she was already nearing the pick-up points.

“Kuala Lumpur’s traffic is bad, especially during peak hours. So, people must learn to be more patient.

“You can’t snap your fingers and expect a car to be at your door step,’’ said the jovial lady, who has done more than 1,000 rides since she became a Grab driver.

Asked how long she would continue to drive, Rasamany said: “It’s not just about making ends meet anymore.

“This job keeps me busy and alert, and is in a way healthy as well.

“My daughter, Gaithri Sritharan, died last November. She was 37 and had Down syndrome.

“A large part of my life was dedicated to taking care of her, and when she died, I was devastated beyond words and there was this huge emptiness in my heart.

“But I was grateful there was my job as a Grab driver which kept my mind occupied and busy and continuously surrounded by wonderful people.

“It was a lifeline,’’ she said.

– ANN

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