A CCTV footage has gone viral on social media platforms showing a foodpanda rider getting looted in Karachi. Muhammad Noman was returning after performing a successful delivery in Sector 1, North Nazimabad on 15th June 2020 where he encountered a baffling event as two robbers approached him on a motorbike, in a robbery attempt. A crime that takes place almost every other day in Pakistan, only this time the robbery took an erratic twist with an apparent change of heart.
According to the footage, two masked dacoits on a motorbike ambushed a delivery rider going about his daily responsibilities of delivery while passersby crossed the scene. The robbers then continued to take their victim’s possessions but were then seen hugging their victim, shaking hands with him, and returning all his possessions. This bizarre turn of events has puzzled Pakistanis across the country.
The victim of the scene, Noman started crying and requested the robbers to return his possessions. The two men felt Noman’s plea and returned his money. The mixed emotions of kindness, adversity, and sensitivity have made this one of the most-watched and talked about videos online over the last week.
In his own words, Noman said (translated from Urdu): “I was confused for a second, thought they were people I know because they approached me saying ‘Salam’ and ‘How are you?’ etc. When I realized what just happened and saw them leaving, I asked them for my phone and money back, I also teared up, which is probably why those guys felt bad for me and returned everything.”
When reached for comment, foodpanda’s CEO Nauman Sikander Mirza said: “Riders are essential frontline workers and our heroes. They brave difficult conditions every day to deliver vitally needed food and groceries to your home so you can avoid going out and lessen the risk of Covid-19 for you and your family. In this instance, I am relieved that Noman is safe and his possessions were returned, but I urge the authorities to do more for the protection of our hard-working heroes.”
Nauman Mirza also shared that foodpanda already provides all its delivery riders road safety training, Covid-19 protection gear, health insurance, and accidental death coverage. Insurance coverage is free of cost for all riders.
In incidents of criminal activity, if a rider is mugged, he/she has the provision to go to the rider ticketing platform where the rider needs to provide a copy of the valid FIR of the incident. Upon provision of the valid FIR, the looted amount is waived off from the rider, which is completely borne by foodpanda, in order to protect the rider from financial losses.
Keeping the operational mechanics in mind, every rider is assigned a limited zone of about 4-5 km radius to carry out deliveries in order to increase efficiency and save fuel cost aligned with the designated department; responsible to deal with rider compensation and monitor rider earnings and bonuses on a regular basis. Amidst COVID-19 triggered massive layouts throughout Pakistan, foodpanda extended financial assistance and ration support to their riders in areas where operations were temporarily discontinued due to the lockdown. As Pakistan’s leading food delivery company, foodpanda ensures the safety and security of its rider fleet of more than 15,000 throughout the nation.
For a change, the mugging stirred up emotional response on social media platforms as robbers showcased an apparent change of heart towards people earning an honest living.