Hearing-impaired deliverymen find value, love in SZ

Writer: Chang Zhipeng  |  Editor: Zhang Chanwen  |  From: Shenzhen Daily  |  Updated: 2023-03-07

During mealtime every day, among the numerous takeaway delivery riders who deliver meals to Shenzheners, there is a group of hearing-impaired riders working hard for a better life, Shenzhen Evening News reported Saturday.

Zhaoqing native Wei Yunshen, 28, is a rider registered with the Ele.me delivery platform. On average, he delivers 700 to 800 takeout orders monthly. At one point, he delivered 1,000 orders in a month, exceeding most riders with the platform.

Huang Le puts a food package into a delivery locker. Chen Yu

Wei’s mobile phone has a text message template that goes: “Hello, I am a hearing-impaired rider. I have already picked up your order and will call you through the smart voice system in a while. Please come down to pick up your food. Thank you for your understanding.” Before each delivery, Wei would send this message to his customers.

“Although I am hard of hearing and mentally challenged, I can still do things well,” Wei said, adding that Shenzhen is a fast-paced city and he works all year round so he can save money and start a family. Wei often doesn’t have time to drink water during peak hours, but the higher income and freedom compared with his previous work at an electronics factory in Dongguan made him feel worth it.

According to Hu Lu, director of Ele.me’s experience design for hearing-impaired riders, more than 3,000 hearing-impaired riders have earned income on the platform.

Many takeaway platforms including Ele.me have built-in “electronic communication cards,” providing various speech templates for different scenarios such as overtime delivery, asking for directions and picking up meals. The rider can show the communication card to the merchant when picking up the meal and copy the words on the cards and send it to the consumer when delivering the meal.

Yang Hui, 25, and her boyfriend are both hearing-impaired. In February 2022, they came to Shenzhen from Enshi, Hubei Province to seek job opportunities. They finally became takeaway delivery riders.

Yang recalled a time when she accidentally fell down when delivering an order on a rainy day, and other passing riders and residents helped her up and tried to help her explain to the customer about the late delivery and that the meal possibly spilled.

For Huang Le, 26, from Huanggang, Hubei Province, this will be soon his third year as a rider. He said that on Jan. 21, he received a bottle of drink as a birthday gift from a customer after seeing a birthday reminder from the delivery platform. The customer also told him “Thank you” in sign language.

The warmth he received also spurred him to pay it forward to people in need. He said that as long as he sees someone who needs help along the way, he will help as much as he can and the sense of value he gets made him love this job more.