One of the true unsung heroes as of late has to be our delivery riders. But what goes on in their lives after they take off their helmets?
Foodpanda rider Mohd Akmal spends his nights completing his thesis in the field of Pharmaceutical Technology from Universiti Malaysia Pahang. Talk about a double life!
Now, imagine actually going to school after a long day of doing that.
Akmal used to lecture at the same university on contract for 6 years, until 2017 when he was offered the opportunity to pursue a PhD on a 3-year scholarship.
However, he had to support himself for his fourth and final year which led to him donning on the pink and grey uniform to start his day job as a delivery rider, commuting 50km a day all around town.
“I was halfway through my PhD when I found myself without financial support. It was tough. I have a young family and I cannot be picky about work,” says Akmal.
He is married to a teacher and they both have 5 children under their roof. Expecting a new member to join the family within the next month, Akmal has been working double the hours he used to.
Someone get this guy a ‘World’s #1 Dad’ mug!
“The Movement Control Order gave flexibility to my timetable. I used to work during the day and stayed up late at night to complete my dissertation.
“It was tiring as I was out all day. When I was home, I had to divide my time between my family and studies.”
You might think that Akmal could probably find any other job because of his high qualifications, but we all know how hard it is to find employment amidst the pandemic.
“I am grateful for this job because it puts food on the table and keeps our heads above water. I have no regrets. The job also had me improve my communication skills. I learnt a lot from meeting and speaking to customers,” said Akmal, thankful for the opportunities this job has given him.
Akmal added that he found out later that there are a number of degree holders who work as delivery riders. He shared his story on the Foodpanda Rider Malaysia Facebook group to inspire others to pursue their education.
The post has gained over 6000 likes and over 900 shares at the time of publishing this article, along with over 600 comments from netizens wishing him well on his journey.
It even caught the attention of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and the Regent of Pahang who invited him to Istana Abdulaziz.
On 29 September, the official Facebook page of The House of Pahang uploaded photos of Akmal alongside Tengku Hassanal Ibrahim Alam Shah.
The post was captioned, “In appreciation of his perseverance, His Royal Highness the Regent of Pahang Tengku Mahkota Tengku Hassanal Ibrahim Alam Shah today agreed to meet Mr Mohd Akmal at Istana Abdulaziz, Kuantan.”
The palace noted that as a sign of appreciation for his hard work, the royal family congratulated Akmal and granted him a donation.
While he plans to apply for a teaching position at UMP in the future, he says he would continue working as a delivery rider for now.
Akmal’s now finished thesis analyses the use of probiotic products in tablet form that have tolerance against acid in the stomach and is titled “Product Development and Evaluation of Probiotic Tablet From Locally Isolated Yeast Saccharomyces Boulardii For Stomach Acid Tolerance.”
I’m not nearly as smart to understand what that means, but I know it sounds really impressive.
Congratulations, Akmal! JUICE wishes you and your family all the best.