Warning: This post includes a story about suicide.
Since the start of the pandemic, we've relied A LOT on delivery drivers to bring us the things we need. I asked them about their worst experience on the job, and guys, they definitely aren't getting paid enough.
1. "Show up at Popeyes and they gave me a gallon of iced tea in a bag with the food. Should have probably never accepted it, but I did. Went on my way, surprise, surprise, iced tea bag breaks while I'm going over a bump, and the tea goes everywhere. I went to the door to deliver the food and tell them what happened. A woman answered. I explained to her I was sorry, but the iced tea spilled everywhere. She said hold on, then came back with her three sons."
2. "I delivered for Jimmy John's for about seven years on and off. The worst experience I had was when I accidentally brought the wrong drink for an order. I realized my mistake right before handing the order to the girl I delivered it to, so I apologized and said I'd be back with the correct drink ASAP. She was very kind, but when I got back to the store to grab the correct drink, my manager was on the phone with the girl's mom, who was SCREAMING at my manager and telling her what a stupid b*tch I was and what a stupid b*tch she was and that she's never ordering food from us again."
"Eventually my manager had to hang up on her because she became increasingly ridiculous. I returned to the house, and thankfully the girl I delivered to answered the door, not her mom. She looked absolutely mortified. She thanked me very nicely, and I jogged to my car and left haha. I mean that's the entitlement you see when you work in a lot of service jobs, though, so my story is not unique, unfortunately."
3. "I showed up with a platter of sandwiches to a 'family event' but had no idea it was a funeral for a 15-year-old boy that was killed in a hit and run accident a few days prior. I'm always kind and tactful, but it would have been useful to know what situation I was entering into so that I could be particularly tactful. Instead, I showed up and they had forgotten who had ordered, and it was kind of a mess because everyone was crying and unsure who to get to pay, etc."
"I could have prepared a plan of action in case that happened because had I known; I would have already considered that they may be out of sorts already, and I would need to do some problem-solving to avoid further stress for them."
4. "I got sent to the wake of a dude who died by suicide, leaving behind a wife and three children under the age of 5. Did anyone inform me of this before I showed up with an 'I’m sorry for your loss' tower of donuts? Absolutely not. The next week, I had to deliver another one for a lady who had a stillbirth. There was no heads-up on that one either. I cried and had a panic attack in the car after both. I really did consider not answering the phone for deliveries after that, but it’s a small town, and there aren't many bakeries. 😭"
5. "[I had to tell a customer] 'I'm sorry ma'am. We aren't delivering to your area right now because of road conditions (major snowstorm). But we are still doing carryout orders if you want to come and get it.' To which the lady replies, 'Oh no. We can't come and get it. It's too dangerous to drive in this weather.' I still don't know how I didn't swear at her."
6. "One night, there was a super-crazy storm that I got stuck delivering in. Totally should have gone home, but delivering in not fun conditions gives you an added bonus on Uber Eats. Things got really bad, and I decided to try and get out of the way, but instead I drove straight into flood water. Car started filling up with water and had to crawl out the window to get out. Luckily some bystanders helped me get out and took me to safety. My fear of drowning definitely came back after that night, and I haven’t been able to deliver since."
7. "I delivered pizza while in college. One time when I went to deliver to this one house and they answered the door, they told me they didn’t order pizza, so I made sure I had the correct address. The person who answered the door confirmed it was their address and went to ask everyone living in the house if they ordered pizza. Apparently, none of them did, so I called the number that was used and asked for their correct address."
"They assured me that the address I was at was correct. I was confused, and so was the person at the door. The person who ordered the pizza called me again and told me that they were in the shed at the bottom of the driveway. That’s when the owners of the house learned that someone had been living in their shed for the past year."
8. "I used to deliver for a main chain pizza place. I had my share of scary experiences, but the weirdest was in a plain old suburban neighborhood (isn’t that always where the weird shit happens?). Family invites me in while they pay; this isn’t unusual, and we’re supposed to decline, but I used my judgment in these situations, and I saw a family with kids sitting around a table and figured I was good to step inside."
"As I’m waiting, a man comes up to me, places his hand on my shoulder (I’m 21F at the time) and asks me if he can pray for me. I’m all about the tip, so I say sure — maybe they’ll tip more if I’m down with Jesus. This man proceeds to tell me that the lord is speaking to him, telling him I’m a struggling college student (duh), and I need this job to help me (wow, the lord is sharp).
As he continues to pray, the children circle around my legs, hugging me and expressing their joy at my acceptance of the prayer. I was probably in there for 10 minutes. I think the tip sucked, but I left with a weird story."
9. "Used to work as a delivery driver for a chain pizza place. One customer was known for being a recluse. He would leave his money outside stapled to a paper plate and always instructed the driver to leave the food outside. First time I delivered to his house, I don’t see a door or a pathway…just a wall of trees. I call the customer and ask him where the hell his door is, and he instructs me to basically fight my way through the trees to get to his back porch. I do, I see the porch and the paper plate, and I leave."
10. "I had an old lady in a diaper steal half a pizza from me. We had a new insider that had told her when she placed her order, we could accept a personal check. We were not supposed to as it was policy not to take checks. When I got to her door with her pizza, she was wearing a shirt, no pants, and a large adult diaper. She got mad that I wouldn't take her check, so I called my manager on my cellphone to mediate."
"She took the pizza from my hands, and my cellphone, and disappeared back into the house. Five minutes later, she comes back out, hands me my phone back, which is now smothered in pizza grease, thrusts the pizza into my hands, opens up the pizza box, takes out three more slices, and slams the door in my face. I just stood there in shock for a minute; then, I went back to the store and had to tell my manager I was robbed by an old lady in a diaper."
11. "Delivered for a large supermarket in the UK at the time. Arrived at the door and knocked a few times. No answer. After about five minutes, I’m ready to leave, but I hear a voice say ‘coming’ so I wait. The front door opens, and there’s a guy standing there with just a T-shirt on and his catheter and penis in full view. He says, ‘Sorry about the state of me love’ as he walks into his front room. I’ve never put groceries in someone’s kitchen so quickly in my life… I got the heck out of there as fast as I could."
12. "I deliver groceries through Instacart. WEEKLY I get an order from Costco or a generally gigantic order consisting of multiple cases of water, beer, and/or soda, multiple gallons of milk and 2L drinks, etc. taking up my entire trunk space and back seat. I sigh a painful sigh of resignation when I arrive at a very large and complicated apartment complex with no instructions on how to reach the correct address, no access codes, no help, and NO ELEVATORS!!!"
"Instacart allows customers to revoke their tip within 24 hours, and guess which customers love doing this the most... The appropriate tip for grocery delivery is 10% to 20% of the cost of the order before taxes and fees, or $1 per item and $1 per mile.
If you can't afford this, you can go get your own damn groceries (forgiveness is given to sick, injured, and elderly). PS: if you ever had a driver unceremoniously chuck your order in front of the gate of your complex, this is why. And likely, you didn't answer the phone when the driver called for help; you deserve every bit of your fucked-up order."
13. "I was a DoorDash driver for a month for a school project. On my fourth day, I was delivering to an area I didn’t know that well at 9 that night. Turns out the guy ordered dinner at his job at the city prison. There were no instructions given on his part other than 'hand it to me.' I waited outside the only entrance for over 40 minutes. I called him over a dozen times. Left multiple voicemails. Texted him no less than 15 times. Nothing."
14. "I deliver for Uber Eats, and once I came to deliver to an apartment complex. The address in the app was a number, but the apartments on the call box for the complex were listed with letters. So I texted the customer through the app asking them to come to the gate. And they didn’t respond. And I texted again. Still no response. It had been like a good five to seven minutes at this point so I tried to call him, but the phone number he had attached to his account was disconnected, so I texted again and just waited."
"It took this guy almost 25 minutes to come to the gate, and when he gets there, he had the audacity to ask me if I’d been waiting long, and I said, 'Yes.' He tipped me $2 when Uber said I was expected to get $7, and Uber docked 50 cents off my pay because it took so long to complete the delivery."
15. "Not my story, but this happened to the delivery driver I used to work with. Another restaurant in town called and ordered 20 pizzas as a treat for their staff. Our kitchen was really small, and it was already a busy night, so we spent all night making sure we were ready to go when it came time to make these pizzas. We got them all made and sent out the door perfectly, and our driver was even a few minutes early."
"He asked for the guy that placed the order, and the hostess told him that he'd gone home for the day, but had given her the money for the pizzas. The bill ended up being exactly $100, which they paid... But they didn't tip. I'm positive that if any of the waitstaff working that night had known about that, they wouldn't have been happy."
16. "This local Mexican restaurant I used to love as a kid changed owners, and the quality has quickly fallen off a cliff. Anyway, my dispatch puts in an order at said place, and they tell them 15–20 minutes. I get there 10 minutes late because of traffic. I then proceeded to spend an hour and 30 minutes being told, 'It'll be right up,' every 15 minutes. It wasn't a very big or complicated order. They just, for some fucking reason, decided to see how long it would take me to go insane."
"I managed to keep my cool, but the guy who came in 10 minutes behind me started yelling at the hour mark, and the lady 20 minutes behind him canceled her order because she had a car full of hungry kids and said she could have just gone to the store, bought the ingredients, gone home, and made this stuff her damn self. They were unapologetic and STILL managed to mess up my order, despite clearly not starting it till everyone in the to-go line was ready to start smashing stuff."
17. And finally, "Invited me in to do drugs and then complained that their delivery was late because I said no."
Note: Responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.