M'sian Indian Alleges Racism After Driver Tells Her He Doesn't Pick Up Customers Who Drink

The woman had just left her work and had booked a Grab ride from the Tun Razak Exchange to the Asia Jaya LRT Station.

Cover image via KL Office Specialist & @rsthiva_07 (Instagram)

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A Malaysian Indian woman has taken to Instagram to share an alleged racist encounter she had with a Grab driver, who refused to pick up the 30-year-old under the assumption that she was drunk

She wasn't drunk.

She was leaving work to go home.

According to Thivashini Rajamanickam, she left her workplace and booked a Grab at 10.30pm last night, 2 May, from the Tun Razak Exchange in Kuala Lumpur to the Asia Jaya LRT Station.

While Thivashini was waiting for the driver in the foyer of her workplace, she received a text message from the driver at 10.40pm, telling her that he doesn't pick up customers who drink alcohol.

"I'm sorry I don't take customers [who drink] alcohol," read the text in Bahasa Melayu (BM).

Thivashini initially thought the driver must have sent the text to her mistakenly.

However, when she replied to him in confusion, the driver followed it back with another text via the Grab app, saying, "I can't stand the smell of alcohol", assuming that Thivashini was drunk.

Taken aback at the conjecture, it took Thivashini a moment to realise what the driver implied.

Damn. Only then I realised that the driver had assumed I was drunk based solely on the fact that I am Indian.

When she texted the driver back, informing him that she was actually leaving her workplace to go home, he stopped replying, according to screenshots of the messages Thivashini shared on her post.

Her subsequent requests for the driver to cancel the trip from his end in order to allow her to book another ride were also ignored by the driver, as can be seen in the screenshot collage below.

Screenshots of the conversation Thivashini had with the Grab driver.

Image via @rsthiva_07 (Instagram)

Thivashini has consented to SAYS using her name and Instagram post for this story.

Left with no choice, Thivashini then called up her sister, and after learning about the situation, she helped book her a new Grab ride

While she waited for the ride that her sister had booked for her, Thivashini filed a complaint with Grab about the driver's behaviour under several grievances, including racism and abandoning the customer.

She then got into the new ride, which arrived at 11.02pm.

Following which, she received a notification on her Grab app, informing Thivashini that the driver — who had refused to pick her up earlier — had finally cancelled the ride at 11.10pm.

Describing the situation as "completely absurd", Thivashini noted that the onus to cancel the ride shouldn't fall on her, especially when a driver refuses to pick up a customer for any reason.

Thivashini said the Grab driver displayed blatantly racist behaviour as his assumption was based on her ethnicity and that it was a night ride

According to her, the experience was "wholly unpleasant, uneasy, frightening, and stressful".

"Just because I'm an Indian, your driver made the assumption that I was intoxicated when I requested a Grab ride at night. This is blatant racism at its worst. This is absolute nonsense and is not ethical at all," read her post.

When SAYS reached out to Grab for a statement, a spokesperson directed us to a comment posted by the company in Thivashini's post

A check by SAYS showed that Grab Malaysia's verified account on Instagram has acknowledged the incident under the woman's post and apologised "for the unpleasant experience" she faced with its services.

The company said that such behaviour is "surely not accepted on the Grab platform" and that the team in charge is working on the report, adding that "action will be taken upon investigation".

Screenshot of the comment posted by Grab under Thivashini's post.

Image via @rsthiva_07 (Instagram)

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