When talking about bus or truck drivers, we are usually thinking about robust and healthy men. However, when traveling around HCM City, if you hop on a bus and see a female drive, you will probably be surprised. This hard and challenging job is usually not for women, but it does not mean that they cannot do it.
Ms. Le Thi Hong Hanh is one of two female bus drivers in HCM City. At the age of 28, she already had eight years experience in the bus field. Born in a poor family, her dad was also a driver who works day and night to feed all his five children. Understanding the family situation, Hanh asked her dad to let her help him selling bus ticket. For years, she and her father traveled many streets around Saigon, and this is the reason why she has fallen in love with the bus driver job. With the support from her father, Ms. Hanh pursued her dream and had completed the course to drive C1 and D class, and quickly became a professional driver.
Ms. Hanh used to be one of four female bus drivers only in Saigon, but right now only two women still sit behind the wheel. “At the beginning, the passenger always show their surprise when seeing a female drive; some even state that they cannot believe their eyes,” shared by Ms. Hanh. One of her most memorable moment was when a 70 years old man got on the bus and was “stunned” knowing that the driver was a female. “Can you really drive? It is dangerous if you are not skilled enough” he said. Hanh and other passengers had to persuade him to accept her and take a sit. However, when the bus arrived at his stop, he was surprised by her driving skill and gave her his compliments. “That really made me happy,” Hanh said.
Hanh devotes almost all her time to his work, as the bus must keep traveling every day, even on weekends or major holidays. Besides, Ms. Hanh is not only a bus driver, but also a wife, a mother, and this makes her task event more challenging. According to the rule from the operating centers, each driver has to work every day during the first part of the month, from day 1 to day 13. From day 14, they must drive continuously and only have a day off after ten consecutive working days. Therefore, every time she has the chance to stay with her family, she enjoys shopping and cooks her best meal for her husband and children. When being asked about plans for the future, Hanh usually smiles and says, “I have no intention of looking for another job. I have already fallen in love with the bus, and become a driver is my dream, so why should I abandon it? I am planning on taking a higher course to get the E license, so I will be able to drive a 50-seat bus and help more passengers to get to their destination”!