Ly, a 33-year-old mother of four, works tirelessly to pay her family’s grocery bills. Refusing to be a stay-at-home mother, Ly has worked a variety of jobs, most recently as a helper in a restaurant kitchen near her home.
That routine changed when the latest outbreak of COVID-19 swept through Vietnam, closing restaurants and leaving Ly jobless.
|Nguyen Huyen Ly makes sure she reaches Gojek’s highest ride band each day to receive a bonus. Photo: Nguyen Hien / Tuoi Tre
With a family to take care of, the mother of four decided to sign up as a motorbike driver for Go-Jek, one of Asia’s fastest growing rideshare companies, hoping to earn enough money to supplement her family’s income and help put food on the table.
Her husband is also a driver for Go-Jek.
As a Go-Jek partner, Ly starts her days at 7:00 am and spends countless hours staring at the Go-Jek app, waiting for rides to come through and hoping to get enough fares to qualify for the company’s bonus scheme.
Between trips, Ly often drops by her tiny tenanted room in Ha Dong District to check on her two elder children.
|Whenever Nguyen Huyen Ly and her husband are not on the road, they spend time helping their oldest child with schoolwork. Photo: Nguyen Hien / Tuoi Tre
As she pushes open the door of her 15-quare-meter rented room, the drab studio is immediately brightened by the sound of happy children.
At nine, Tung, Ly’s eldest son, takes care of his younger sister while Ly and her husband are busy working.
Ly has two other children who stay with their grandmother.
Ly considers her job as a rideshare driver a step-up from her restaurant gig thanks to higher income.
“I can earn more money on my own to buy more things for my kids,” Ly shared.
“My only wish is to provide for my kids. We have such a big family.”
Ly also appreciates the flexibility and freedom of driving for Go-Jek.
|Nguyen Huyen Ly’s daily companions are her run-down scooter and a thermal bag she uses to keep food warm. Photo: Nguyen Hien / Tuoi Tre
As a mother, being able to check on her children throughout the day is imperative.
There are also emotional rewards.
Ly shared her diligence and friendly attitude are reciprocated by her customers and the conversations she shared with her passengers were helpful in allowing her to shrug off exhaustion.
“Every job has its own upsides and downsides. I’m an outgoing person, so I want to continue with my job and enjoy my time with customers,” Ly said with a smile.
“I’m really thankful for this job and the unforgettable experiences it brings.”