‘Cool’ dad shares his experience of being a son to his father and subsequently a father to his sons

Part-time e-hailing driver Nicholas Pan, 54, does not recall much of his memories with his father. He was just eight when his father, a restaurant and pub owner in PJ Old Town, passed away.

But he remembers one thing – that his father, Christopher, worked very hard for his family. The patriarch would leave home at 5am and return only at 10pm, working almost around the clock to manage his business in the late 1970s.

“He was a helpful person. He wouldn’t think twice about helping and would go all-out for others,” said Nicholas, whose eldest son is also named Christopher.

His father may be gone, but the memory of his words remain fresh, especially this Father’s Day.

“Never take anyone for granted, no matter where or what walk of life they come from,” his father had advised him.

Nicholas applies this to his life, especially at work. Now a father of two sons, he shares his own advice that has a sentiment similar to his father’s words.

His advice to his sons is: “As Malaysians, we stay in a multi-racial country. Always keep in mind that we are all equal.”

Describing himself as a “cool” father, he spoke about his way of bringing up his children and how he tries not to give any “attitude” to his sons.

“Life is not a bed of roses where you can just sleep and wake up for things to happen. I learned a fair bit that we have to get up for things to happen.

“This means one needs to work hard to get what they want and not wait for opportunities to come knocking,” he told theSun.

Apart from this, he also inculcated good moral values and taught his sons about the need to apologise.

“I never walk away without saying sorry, even when I am right. It takes a bigger man to say sorry,” he said, adding that by making an apology, he is setting an example for his sons.

“If I can do it, then they can also say sorry. That is what I try to tell them.”

Nicholas has been married for 35 years to a former nurse who quit her job to be a homemaker, and in addition to Christopher, 24, there is Jeremy, 19.

A few years ago, Nicholas, who works for a printing company, was faced with limited resources, especially after the Covid-19 pandemic. Adding to his woes were the increase in the prices of goods and essential items.

In the past, the family of four could live well on his salary. But things got harder and he had to make some lifestyle changes, opting to stop buying clothes, shoes or anything else for himself.

The family used to have lunch and dinner at restaurants on weekends but now they go to hawker stalls for chicken rice or noodles.

That situation led him to think of ways to supplement his income.

It was then that a friend introduced him to the e-hailing platform inDrive, and he joined as a part-time driver in 2021.

“I have the choice to choose where I want to go, my price and my passengers. That was the main thing that attracted me. It has given me the opportunity to earn some side income, meet people from different walks of life and be independent.”

The platform gives drivers the freedom to work on a part-time or full-time basis without any restrictions in terms of number of hours or rides, allowing them the option to work at their convenience.

“Without this, it would have been terrible for me. It could have been stressful. This has given me a lifeline and helped me.”

Every day, Nicholas drives for four to five hours after his regular work and earns about RM120 per day. The additional income pays for his daily expenses and utility bills. At times, he earned about RM80 with just three rides in a day.

“It’s an honest job. It helps me to be a better person and builds character. However, just like any other job, the gig comes with challenges, such as passengers cancelling the ride just as he is arriving at the pick-up point, traffic jams and bad weather.

“This work has taught me to be patient,” he said, adding that no matter what challenges life throws at him, he navigates through the difficult times to become a better person.

“Prayers are also very important. I dare say prayers have helped me tremendously.