Panthera Group, Thailand’s largest operator of bars, restaurants, and nightclubs, brought much-needed aid to Bangkok taxi drivers struggling amid Thailand’s coronavirus restrictions.
Panthera Director Dean Capewell funded the Aug. 24 donation of 407 survival bags of food and necessities for Sukhumvit-area taxi drivers who constitute an essential part of Bangkok’s nightlife sector.
Metered-cab, motorcycle-taxi and tuk-tuk drivers filed past Panthera’s landmark Insanity nightclub on Sukhumvit Soi 11 to obtain one of the bags containing rice, eggs, canned food, instant noodles, cooking oil, baby powder, diapers and other essentials.
In all, Dean Capewell’s 200,000-baht donation allowed Panthera to deliver more than 3,000 kilograms of rice, 16,000 eggs, 2,600 tins of food, 800 packages of noodles, 800 bottles of oil and more, all packaged and delivered safely by Panthera staff members.
“Taxi drivers have been an integral part of all our businesses,” Capewell said. “They brought people to our outlets, so it was time to give something back to them.”
Panthera Group has, throughout the coronavirus pandemic in Thailand, supported its employees and other workers in the city’s entertainment industry, which has been devastated by Covid-19-related closures for 13 of the past 16 months. While organizing monthly food handouts for nightlife workers, the company also made taxi drivers a priority as they’ve been left out of most government-aid programs, cannot collect unemployment, and have suffered massive losses of income.
In May, Panthera began food handouts on Soi 11 and Soi 23 and, when coronavirus restrictions made direct handouts impossible, the company transferred cash payments to drivers’ bank accounts to buy food and supplies.
“Thailand has been my second home,” Capewell said. “When I see what has happened, my heart goes out to them. Bangkok has been good to me, and I want to give back.”