I would like to thank you for making sure that I always make it to work on time. I know you do not have to wait for me every morning as you have plenty of other customers you could be transporting during the morning rush. But either way you diligently still wait for me even on days I am running extremely late.
People have a lot of opinions about the way you and your colleagues ride and weave through traffic every morning, some go the extent of calling it a bit reckless, but I have always felt safe on the back of your bike. Maybe it is because I know how much pride you take in your job and how you view your bike as one of your most priced possessions.
It must not have been easy as a migrant to save up for the bike and I often wonder what you had to go through to save up all that money. You always tell me about how you miss your home country and that you hate the fact that you cannot frequently go back to visit your mother and sisters. But under that balaclava and helmet you blend in with all the other motorcycle drivers, you are judged as a collective, and are hardly identified as an individual.
I wonder if people ever ask you how you are, or how your day is going whilst they are on the back of your bike, or do they just want to get to where they are going.
I am sure they will be shocked if you told them that you have two lovely daughters who you work hard to support and provide for. What if, whilst waiting for a red light to turn green you randomly told a passenger that you wished you were at your daughter’s school function which you always miss because you are zipping up and down town taking people to their appointments. Would the passenger appreciate what you do more? I once told you to try it, but your shyness always gets the best of you.
The story of how you left your home country is sad but yet inspiring at the same time. With very little on you, you had to migrate with your two daughters so that they could get a better future. I never understood why you always got angry when a car driver got too close to your bike as you rode. I mean you are the one doing the weaving in between the cars, surely the anger should be coming from the other end.
The answer to this dilemma dawned upon me when one evening whilst we were having a drink you were calculating the number of extra trips you had to make the next day so that you could raise enough money to take your daughter out for her birthday.
Every single minute that your bike is not on the road, your family feels the impact, so I now do understand why you do not want anything to ever happen to your bike.
You help a lot of people get to where they want to be, I am sure you have even transported people to their big job interviews, family celebrations and other momentous events, without them knowing that you are a migrant. You provide a service that we all need and appreciate but yet some people still have negative views towards migrants and the role they play in our society. Maybe one day all this will change.
In the mean time, I encourage you to continue being the wonderful father you are to your children and to continue working hard to provide for them. On behalf of all the commuters you transport every day, I would like to thank you for service you provide us so that we can achieve our daily goals.
In 2015 when IOM X was just a few months old we brought together 20 youth leaders from all 10 ASEAN countries in Bangkok for the IOM X ASEAN Youth Forum. The goal was to connect with amazing young people who were passionate about social change and the issue of human trafficking and to share … Continue reading “Where are they now?: Joey, Philippines”
IOM X is the International Organization for Migration's innovative campaign to encourage safe migration and public action to stop exploitation and human trafficking. The campaign is produced in partnership with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).