63-year-old Grab driver Romualdo Alabarca did not expect to go viral on social media when he offered a free ride to his passenger from Taft Avenue, Manila to Molino, Cavite; and then to three other commuters from Baclaran. The amazement (and shock!) of the people who wrote about him on social media enabled Kuya Louie, as everybody calls him, to share his story and reap the benefits of a job well done.
Why do you offer free rides?
I think it’s human nature for us to help other people. You see people lining up on the streets, waiting for their ride and you’d think “tulungan ko kaya ‘to?” It’s not a big deal, to be honest. I’m going to spend the same amount of fuel, anyway, because I have to go home. Maybe others don’t do this for safety reasons. Basta ako, kung mayroong sasakay, isasakay ko.
What was your reaction when you found out about your instant fame?
I rarely use Facebook; it was my daughter who told me about the post because her classmates and our friends saw it. They said “uy, nag viral ka sa Facebook!” I checked and madami nang shares! That was where all this started. Sunod-sunod na. I was even invited to Malacañang. My wife said that I influenced other people because of what I did, I think that’s good.
Do you always offer free rides?
When I was still a driver for Uber [another ride-hailing company that has ceased operating in the country], I used to do this as well. Matagal na ito, eh. I just never told anyone—not even my family. Basta kung may ma-isakay ako, eh di okay. I’d do it every time I’d go home, usually from Baclaran to our house in Molino, Cavite. This just went viral because a passenger I gave a free ride to posted about it.
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