Yesterday, I came home late after work and was in no mood to cook. The unusually cold weather in Bengaluru did not help either. The choice was obvious—I ordered food online and waited for my dinner to reach me. It was only when I started eating that I realised that here I was, all comfortable and warm, while someone else was making an extra effort to ride in the cold.
Although I convinced myself that food delivery apps probably provide their employees with warm clothing, a Twitter thread I came across made me introspect.
Aakash Vinay, an assistant media manager for the Bengaluru Football Club, took to Twitter to share his encounter with a delivery man who refused to let the weather slow him down, despite shivering in the cold.
“It’s one of the coldest winters Bengaluru has seen in over a decade, and there are people whose livelihoods depend on being out on the streets,” says Aakash, adding that
“When the delivery person takes time to reach the restaurant, remember that part of the reason you didn’t step out to eat is the temperature.
And that may be a part of the reason he chooses to ride slowly,” began the thread.
We usually expect the food to be delivered within 30-40 minutes. A delay of even a few minutes and the impatience sets in. Rarely do we wonder what might have happened to the driver and if there is a genuine reason behind this delay.
Aakash was in a similar situation. He had ordered in from a popular food delivery app but did not anticipate that he would have to wait for about an hour for the food to arrive. When the bell finally rang, he opened the door and standing in front of him was the delivery man.
“After almost an hour of waiting, he finally arrived, and when I opened the door, I felt bad that I had even considered giving him an earful for the delay.
He stood there at my doorstep, shivering and barely able to hand me the package. He struggled to pull out his wallet. You could see it that abuse for delays came his way very often, and his sheepish smile said it all. It was his hands though, that said the biggest tale… He shivered the whole time, but he smiled throughout,” the thread concluded.
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The incident made Aakash realise his own privilege and how hard the delivery boys work to get our food parcels to us on time. They have nothing to gain if they are late, the Bengaluru man observed, but on the other hand, have to suffer abuse or at the very least, complaints from the customers.
The Better India reached out to Aakash, and this is what he had to say.
“The man was probably in his early 40s, and you could tell that he had a family waiting for him at home. I’ve generally always tipped the delivery people because their job is tough. This time, I gave him a huge tip because his smile was, like I mentioned, one that was expecting abuse. I genuinely wanted that man to leave my house with a smile that was not because he hadn’t received abuse, but because he had been appreciated.”
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He adds, “I’ve often been irritated with delivery people who get lost or who don’t get to the restaurant on time or call too many times to reach my office or home. Some of them are penalised if the order is delivered post 30 minutes, and they cut signals on the streets or drive in a rash manner just to avoid that fine. They are, essentially risking their lives sometimes, so that we can eat our meals. And to do that for a living isn’t easy at all.”
This thread, full of empathy and good wishes for delivery people will open your eyes to their side of the story. Do read it here.
People in Bengaluru, hear me out. A few days ago I ordered in and it took a while for the delivery person to make it. And no, this isn’t a complaint that I want addressed by @swiggy_in or @ZomatoIN or any of the good people there. This is an incident I want to share.
— Aakash Vinay (@aakashvinay17) January 6, 2019
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)