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“Very precious memory”: teacher encouraged after her uncle offered a taxi as a wedding car

SINGAPORE: When elementary school teacher Syarinah Sani picked March 13th as her wedding anniversary, it wasn’t because the numbers looked a little good.

The 28-year-old had a practical reason: It was the March break and the first day after the end of the school year.

When the question arose of whether the couple needed a wedding car, Ms. Syarinah practically thought again.

“We only looked at one wedding location, so we didn’t need a wedding car,” she said by phone to CNA on Wednesday (April 21).

But she still needed someone to take her from her parents’ house to the wedding venue and then to another location for a photo shoot.

Her taxi driver uncle Abdul Aziz Talibak (51) got on and offered to drive her around in his ComfortDelGro taxi for the day.

After all, Mr. Aziz had helped with the wedding planning and transported his niece’s belongings to her new home.

Ms. Syarinah knew that her uncle wanted her day to be as stress-free as possible, so she accepted his offer “without thinking too much”.

“He was also very excited and was trying to see where he could help,” she said. “But I didn’t expect that he would put on his cab and spend money from his own pocket to make it our wedding car for the day.”

Mr. Aziz told his niece, just days before the big day, when she was knee deep in her preparations, that he was going to decorate the taxi. “I wanted to surprise it,” he said.

When Mr. Aziz finally sent photos of the souped-up taxi to his niece, she said she was “happily surprised”.

“I’ve never seen flowers in a taxi before,” said Ms. Syarinah. “I thought it was very cute how it was decorated.”

In fact, a Facebook post on this episode uploaded to ComfortDelGro’s official page on Tuesday received a very positive response with more than 3,400 reactions and 1,800 shares.

Many internet users praised the simple but heartwarming gesture and sent the newlyweds good wishes. “Nice to see that … so unique and special to have a taxi as a wedding car,” wrote one.

THE PREPARATIONS

Mr. Aziz, who has been driving with ComfortDelGro since 2011, agreed.

“Why do we have to rent a car outside?” he asked. “We could just as easily use a taxi as it is special. Nobody has used a taxi as a wedding car for a long time.”

Additionally, Mr Aziz knew that amid the pandemic, the wedding would be a leisurely affair with 100 guests. “It’s easy so why not use a taxi,” he said.

To make sure he wasn’t breaking any regulations, Mr. Aziz asked ComfortDelGro for permission. The company agreed and forwarded its request to the Land Transport Authority.

This is because the taxi would be used for personal reasons and the wedding decorations would make this fact even more apparent.

The agency gave the go-ahead, said Mr Aziz, on condition that the decorations did not compromise security, such as blocking his mirrors.

The wedding decoration in Mr. Abdul Aziz Talibak’s taxi. (Photos: Facebook / ComfortDelGro Taxi)

Mr. Aziz got to work. He gave his Hyundai Ioniq hybrid cab a good wash and vacuum cleaner. And then, on March 12th, the day before the wedding, he went to the Joo Chiat Complex to have the taxi decorated.

He chose white for the ribbons and flowers and kept the design simple knowing his niece would want it that way.

When he was about to go home, he decided to pick up passengers from the Geylang Serai market taxi stand. “I thought why not,” he said.

The passengers said “wow” and that the decorations were “fantastic” said Mr. Aziz. “Of course they were surprised,” he added with a laugh. “You were the first to take my decorated taxi.”

THE WEDDING DAY

On March 13th, Mr. Aziz started his day early by taking his niece from her parents’ home in Jurong to the wedding venue in Bukit Timah Plaza.

The wedding guests were “quite surprised” to see the taxi, said Mr. Aziz. “They have never seen a taxi used as a wedding car before,” he said.

Mr. Aziz made some trips to and from the venue to pick up other relatives when it began to rain heavily. This meant the couple’s outdoor photo shoot had to be canceled.

Ms. Syarinah and her husband took photos around the venue, including some in a taxi, although she wished she had taken one with her uncle and his car.

“We also wanted to get a better picture of the cabin because he spent so much time on it,” she said.

“But because of the weather and we were honestly very, very tired after the wedding, it was very difficult to get a good photo of the car.”

Mr. Aziz waited about an hour in this taxi so that he could send the bride and groom back to their new home.

“He was just waiting patiently, he didn’t even complain about it,” said Ms. Syarinah. “I know he was just as tired because he picked me up that morning. But he didn’t complain.”

LOVE FOR HIS NIECES

Mr. Aziz’s generosity is based on his desire to want the best for his nieces. He even offered to drive Ms. Syarinah to school every day.

“This is an essential part of life because I don’t have children,” said Aziz. “I also see her as my child, why don’t I help? It’s not for me. I love my niece very much.”

In order to help the taxi drivers in these troubled times, Mr. Aziz suggested to ComfortDelGro to rent out their taxis and drivers for weddings.

“If people want to save money, why not use taxis as wedding cars,” he said.

Ms. Syarinah said it never crossed her mind that guests might find the gesture a cheap act, especially since some couples spend a lot of money to rent a lavish wedding car.

“It’s just as valuable to me because it’s still a means of transportation. It still does the same thing, you know, it runs on gas,” she mused.

In fact, Ms. Syarinah said the gesture made it more meaningful since it was her uncle’s thought that counted.

“Even if he did it to a normal car or anything else, it would still be the same,” she added. “I’ll still feel the same way.”

“SOMETHING I WILL NOT FORGET”

This feeling is shared by Mrs. Syarinah’s husband Fahrul Razi Kamsani (29), whom she described as a “very chilled out guy” who is practical and not materialistic.

“He was grateful that my uncle offered, because it honestly diminished our logistical needs, to get in touch with another party and spend some money on rent and also on decoration,” she said.

Mr. Aziz said he was “very happy” that the couple appreciated his gesture and said he kept a flower from the car decoration in his living room as a souvenir.

Ms. Syarinah said the episode was something to be proud of.

“Because it just shows how much he considers me his niece,” she said, adding that this was something she “can’t replicate”.

“It is also a very priceless, very precious memory that I will not forget. It is something very small, simple for others. But for me it is like something that I will not forget.”

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