Thursday, 14 April 2016

A Disappointed Tourist

Hi Peeps. Hope you are all well.

Remember at the end of my previous post on Sale Shenanigans (read more about it here), I mentioned that there is a further story I'd like to share? A continuation to the day itself.

Well, here it goes.

After paying for our sale items, we made our way to Pavilion for brunch/lunch. I can't recall whether we had breakfast that day. All for the sake of chasing after the good stuff during sales, huh?

There were many people at the Food Court. When there's a huge crowd, it's normal to have to share your table especially when it's just us two at the moment. So there was this woman who shared our table. She wanted to switch seats the moment I came with my food (Hubs was already seated and busy tucking into his Mee Curry) but I assured her it was totally OK to continue sitting with us. We didn't mind at all.

At first instance, I thought she was one of those rich housewives who just came for the sales as well. She was little in stature, around her 40s, well dressed, was carrying a Tory Burch handbag (nice...you know the black one with the gold chain) and decked moderately with jewellery. She looked SUPER STRESSED. She was sitting right next to me. I felt that if she could curl herself up into an even smaller ball, she would. Upon guessing that she's probably not local, we both introduced ourselves and started chatting. Midway in relaying to us what had happened to her not but an hour before, she teared up.

Just a heads up, she didn't ask us for money, she didn't beg us for help, it wasn't one of those scams.

She just arrived in KL that morning. Upon checking in at her service apartment, one located in KL, she decided to go tour around the city. The reception at her service apartment assisted her in flagging a taxi. That was when her trip came to a premature end.

She wanted to go to Jalan Alor to eat. I am not sure if the stalls are open in the afternoon. In fact, I've never been there but I think stalls are only open at night. Even if they aren't, she can always walk to one of the nearby restaurants.

The thing is the Cabbie that she got into claimed he didn't know where was Jalan Alor. So she was driven in circles for over an hour. When she told him to stop, he didn't. She actually brought the window down and yelled for help from passing motorists. Only then he stopped.

You would think the terror would stop there. It didn't.

She was forced to pay USD100.

She just paid and ran out of the cab. She was lucky no knife was pointed at her.

Somehow she got herself back to her service apartment. The staff helped her by bringing her to Pavilion where she can eat and perhaps calm herself down. She was supposed to spend the whole weekend in KL. However, she decided to burn all the money spent for the service apartment and return ticket and buy a new flight ticket home to Vietnam the next morning.

Poor woman.

She lives in Sweden. Her husband and teenage daughter are still back in Sweden. She decided to take a detour to KL from her visit back home to Vietnam. She was in Vietnam to attend prayers for her mother who passed away a year ago. She heard from her cousins how they enjoyed KL immensely and how it was a shopping haven. So she decided she might as well spend a weekend in KL for some retail therapy. Unfortunately her trip didn't go as well.

We were angry for her behalf. And here, not a few days before we met her, the cabbies were protesting in BB area because of the UBER/ GRABCAR issue. It's these sort of cabbies that give other cabbies an even worse reputation. I personally believe that not only airport and hotel staff but cabbies are the first line of ambassadors for our tourists. You, SIR, are an ultimate fail! Shame on you for taking advantage of tourists! Perhaps cabbies should monitor themselves and make sure there will be no further "highway-robbery" such as these occurring again. Maybe then people will trust them again and rely on the usual cab services. For now, most of the locals prefer UBER/GRABCAR. Safe, efficient and worth it too.

Back to the story.

After a short discussion, Hubs and I decided to help her. We wish we could do more but she declined. We drove her to KLCC and pointed her to the hair salon. One of the things she asked for whilst in Pavi was if there was a hair salon. She wanted to do her hair. Of course there were. However, she may have problems going back to her hotel later. Taxis in Pavi are notorious. At least from KLCC, if she were to take their regulated blue cabs, though slightly expensive, it's safe and no way are they going to charge her USD100.

I offered to stay and show her around KLCC but again she declined. In front of the salon, she bowed and hugged me repeatedly. I was already embarrassed at this point. The hairdressers and staff in the salon were already staring openly. I could see tears whilst she hugged me repeatedly. She also ran towards my husband who was already heading towards Kino to shake his hand and bow again. Many times she offered and pleaded to allow her to buy us gifts. We declined of course. The way we view it, we can at least make some part of her trip right for her.

Before we parted ways, we exchanged numbers.

That night I asked how she was and whether she was OK. She got back to the service apartment relatively OK.

The next morning, I received a whatsapp from her asking where she could get breakfast. She was absolutely famished. Supposedly after her trip to the salon, she went straight back to her service apartment and didn't get anything to eat. It was still before 10 a.m. back then so her choices were limited. When her cousins reserved the service apartment for her, they didn't get the one with the breakfast option. They told her it was better to eat at the shopping malls and explore local food outside.

I briefly gave her some options. The best would be one of the coffee franchises nearby her place. Again, she thanked both my hubs and I. She also informed that her flight back to Vietnam was that evening and that she will be leaving for the airport that afternoon. I also persuaded her to not let this particular trip discourage her from coming back to Malaysia. Next time, if she ever comes visit, I'd be glad to show her around.

This was indeed an unfortunate turn of events for this particular woman. A trip which could have been a great first impression of KL for her turned sour. A particular aspect of our Malaysian taxi services we have to further look into. Yes, these sort of things have been happening for a long time, are occurring daily and most likely will continue unless we put a serious halt to it. The way I see it, the authorities have and can only do so much. It's the cabbies themselves that have to monitor their colleagues. After all, ferrying passengers around town is their bread and butter, right? The majority wouldn't want these kind of people ruining their already notorious and bad reputation. Bad enough those who are actually trying to earn an honest living from cab fares having to shoulder this sort of perception from others.

Dear Red and White Cabbies. #timeforchange #getcleanreputation. Don't shoot yourselves in the foot. I suggest self-monitoring among cabbie communities. Only then you can start competing with the others again.