Updated: Apr 15
A column recently written about a carjacking - turned kidnapping of a Door Dash drivers car and children appeared in my browser window imploring me to click on it with it’s ominous title of, "The DoorDash kidnapping proves that working for the delivery service is bad."
As I stared at it, I began to notice links to other articles about the same story by different authors. From the San Francisco Chronicle to The New York Times, the stories were simpatico with the driver and his kidnapped children. The other headlines screamed of unfairness about the evil DoorDash for allowing this to happen and how they did nothing - or not enough about it. As I read, a question began to form in the back of my mind…what wrong did DoorDash commit?
Anyone who knows me can attest I am not a fan of the corporate machine. I am the advocate for the little guy. I am the last to run and defend the big company, but in this case I found myself searching for human rights violations that big bad DoorDash supposedly was in violation of. I found none.
The story was about Jeffery Fang, a DoorDash driver, and his children, ages 4 and 1. You see, Jeffrey had his children in his delivery vehicle while he was working. Reading the press accounts one would swear that it was the fault of big, bad DoorDash. News flash - It wasn’t.
Follow me on this. I'm a full time gig driver. I'm no fan of DoorDash. They de-platformed me over a year ago (I wasn’t a good fit for them) because my need to make money usurped their need to have me work for peanuts. Also, they were famous for manipulating drivers tips back then. Of all the delivery platforms, I never got what drivers saw in it or why it was so popular. It was a real head scratcher to me. But, to each his own.
That being said, this is the company Jeffery CHOSE to drive for. Again, he chose that gig. No one forced him to do it. According to this article that references Jefferys plight; "The gig worker said that working for Doordash doesn’t give him enough money to afford childcare with his kids, which is why they were with him while he made deliveries.” The article continued, "Fang said, 'As a gig economy worker, the money stops the minute you stop working, and the pay is already low enough as it is. You’re not obligated to work more than you want, but in order to make ends meet, there are only certain hours good enough for you to really be out there.'”
The article suggests that the co-founder of DoorDash, Tony Xu, is somehow nefariously involved in violating Jefferys human rights due to his billionaire status - because wealth and, well, you know - stuff. Eater magazine says Jeffrey was better served by a Go Fund Me account than he was from DoorDash.
The NYT talks about San Franciscans "rallying to find his missing children.” Not to be outdone by their counterparts, the San Francisco Chronicle laments, “Why did it take a child abduction to support this gig worker?” The Chronicle failed to address how companies are responsible for supporting their workers but okay. The Chronicle goes on to mention that funds were donated to him in excess of $100,000.
LET THAT SINK IN.
I’ll spell it out just to make sure there is no misunderstanding. One Hundred Thousand Dollars!
What did I miss? A guy goes out to deliver food for his job. He gets out of his vehicle, and leaves the keys in it, with the vehicle running - and for the winning trifecta - he leaves his children in the vehicle. TADA! Dude gets 100K! Did I get that right?
Now, I have at least three newspapers telling me how bad his company is because of his actions. I see a Go Fund Me page set up for him because of poor choices he made. I see a co-founder slammed - because. Are we honestly rewarding Darwins now? I see a lot of money given to a man for making poor decisions, and said man slamming said company he chose to work for - just because.
Correct me if I’m wrong but if that were a mother in the same situation would the faux outrage be the same? Would a mother of two children in the same situation not be excoriated for the same choices. Would we not hear about how DFACS should get involved? Just asking...
The bigger point here is that we have a bunch of people criticizing these gig companies for the way they do business. From Prop-22 to “deceptive” hourly pay claims, all people that aren’t even in this business (and some that are and still keep doing it) need to leave the ones that are working in it - and making money - alone.
From Film Daily ; "The gig worker said that working for Doordash doesn’t give (emphasis mine) him enough money to afford childcare with his kids, which is why they were with him while he made deliveries.” There you have it. In one word the entire dilemma can be summed up, GIVE. I have news for you, the ones like me who do this job, and are successful aren’t asking for anyone to GIVE (ahem - Jeffery) us anything. Drivers, by nature, have a bit of entrepreneurial spirit in them, they are fiercely independent and are appreciative of additional work thrown their way.
Jeffery, “concerned” writers, and virtue signaling donors all - how about we address the true problem? If we did a lot less pearl clutching over companies offering work and drivers accepting the jobs knowing the hazards involved and the “hourly” situation - and made the customer more accountable for their stinginess in regard to the other part of the drivers pay then we could solve this issue faster than you can say “stiff."
But there is no scarcity of people who want to villainize the big, bad company and give poor decisions from individuals a pass, while letting the real offender skate on their responsibility. Why...no one would be able to pretend to care.
The reality is that these gig jobs have been around a long time. Ever hear of free-lance? It is the responsibility of people to discern what their needs are and make choices and adjustments to those choices as needed. The pop-culture word is “adulting” and it can be found on the front of a t-shirt near you.
Just a "tip."