Moto drivers are people too


“Sure, why not?” I went for a run tonight and don’t feel the need to walk.

The Mondo BBQ has the cheapest fruit-shakes in Phnom Penh and that’s exactly what I want for dinner. I’m not very hungry.

It takes about five minutes to walk there, one by moto. A pointless moto ride for sure, but why not give this fella something to do instead of harassing all of the other ME’s out there?

“Join me for a fruitshake?” I ask.

At first he thinks I want him to wait for me. I make the appropriate hand gestures and he gets it, takes off his helmet, and sits down across from me.

“Order whatever you like.” I say.

He orders a small orange juice, the cheapest thing on the menu, and I order a fruit-shake and the anemic spaghetti (2 nights in a row eating Italian, what’s up with that?).

We chat.

Today he gave four people rides, five counting me. On an average day he makes $1 to $2, which is barely enough to support his stay-at-home wife and his two kids. Six months ago, due to downsizing, he lost his job working for an NGO as a security guard where he made $200/month and had health insurance. Now he makes a fraction of that and has no health insurance.

At no point in time does he complain. He just states facts.

He smiles when he talks about his wife and laughs when he mentions his kids.

He drops me at my guesthouse and rides off.

Everybody has a story. This is what makes life interesting. And once we know that story, even small pieces of it, we can begin to understand each other.

Kent says:

I sometimes catch myself thinking that my life is so difficult… Instantly, as if by reflex I remind myself of the realities faced by others.

Lynne says:

He ordered the cheapest thing on the menu. That tugs at my heart strings. I would have tried to convince him to have more. However, I realize that just allowing him to order and not making an issue of what he does or does not order is one way of not injuring his dignity. As you say, he was very matter of fact about his situation. He does not want anyone “feeling sorry” for him.

Kelsey says:

I told him to get anything he wanted, but he said that he usually doesn’t eat that early (6pm) and that he would eat with his family later that night.

What gets me is that many of the women don’t have jobs because of the whole man is the provider thing. His family has to live off of his moto wages, which can’t be very high. There are way too many motos.

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