The murder of Florida UberEats driver Randall Cookes this week only goes to show one of the several dangers of this job. It is an unfortunate reminder how dangerous dealing with the public can be. I’ve been in the delivery business for four decades and this senseless act reminds me of the Mitchell Sims Dominos murder case in the mid 80s.
While these are rare cases and not seen as the common, everyday dangers drivers face, like road rage or vehicle accidents. The fact that you're going to a strangers house is, in itself, a big danger. Many times you have no idea who you’re going to meet on that delivery. You often are delivering to strange addresses in neighborhoods all over the city. You not only have no idea who the customer is, you sometimes have no idea the type of neighborhood you’re going into. Like a jaw jarring pothole in a rainstorm on an unfamiliar road, it’s a hidden hazard.
For instance, you have no idea if the customer has a dog loose on the property. You have no idea if some irresponsible neighbor has their dog loose in the neighborhood. I’ve encountered my share of dogs and heard hundreds of stories of other drivers encounters with them. But dogs can be the least of your problems as demonstrated by the murder of Randall Cookes.
In my four decades in this business, I have encountered irate customers that have threatened me with an ass kicking over the phone, threatened to have a customer show up at the store with a gun. I’ve also had a homeowner pull a gun on me because a customer gave a wrong address and the homeowner thought I was a burglar.
Unfortunately there are some creepy people out there that we deliver to. I’ve had couples having sex with doors or curtains open. I’ve had a guy masturbate in front of me while I held his pepperoni (pizza). I’ve had the full montied horny housewife tip several times. I’ve seen a guy slap his girlfriend because she didn’t tip me. I’ve had drunk frat boys threaten to kick my ass-just because.
While it is the most interesting part of the job, it is at times, the most cringe worthy thing you’ll ever experience too. You see, doing this job gives you rare snippets of peoples lives without the cover of a public restaurant. You’ll see people in all stages of dress or undress. You’ll see no manners, drunks, abusers, lonely hearts, desperate, depressed, nasty, and yes-kind people as well. And while most of the people you meet are polite and kind, you will get the others.
Mr. Cookes unfortunately met the worst of the worst. We don’t have all the details of how and what. But I would be willing to bet that he violated the number one rule of delivery. NEVER. EVER. Under ANY circumstance, do you enter the customers home. I don’t care if they have someone in a wheelchair asking you to bring it inside. Don’t do it.
“Oh that poor guy in the wheelchair isn’t going to be an axe murderer.” you say. As true as that may be, he could accuse you of taking his watch. What if someone accuses you of rape? It happens all the time. False claims of theft or rape notwithstanding, once you cross that threshold you are no longer protected by the public eye or being able to run if needed. You’ve entered their domain and only they know what’s on the other side of that door. John Wayne Gacy anyone?
This was the number one rule that home delivery innovator Domino’s Pizza implemented after many years of experience of dealing with the public in their private residences. Be aware of your surroundings at all times. Keep control of all situations at all times. There’s never a reason for you to be inside a persons home, none.
I’m not blaming the victim in this. It’s just a reality that we live with that there are bad people that will do others harm - for no reason. If you can’t take it from the experiences I’ve shared with you then please pay attention to Mr. Cookes cautionary tale. Stay safe out there.