Twitter Is Outraged About This Viral Food Delivery Video

During the ravages of Hurricane Ida, people on the Eastern seaboard were often confronted with the choice to either stay in their homes or search for shelter from the storm elsewhere. Some of those who stayed home may have decided to order delivery. Presumably, that's how we ended up with videos like the one which photographer Johnny Miller uploaded to Twitter.

The video shows a bicyclist with what appears to be a takeout bag navigating the thigh-high water levels of flooded New York City. It is uncertain whether this person works as a delivery rider. And even if they do, the delivery company is also unclear. However, the likelihood that someone made a takeaway order and braved all the forces arrayed against them to pick up the food themselves seems low.

So the video morphed on Twitter from a surreal scene to an indictment of certain working conditions in the United States. "You're going to the projects of hell if you order delivery tonight, why would you put someone through that," one wrote. "Shame on the person who made the order, and bigger shame on grubhub for accepting the order," another agreed. (Again, we have no proof of a connection to Grubhub.) "The poor delivery person doesn't deserve this." This, though, is Twitter, so someone else suggested that the alleged delivery rider chose to work in those conditions. "I'm pretty sure this person saw the insane rain and even with that he decided to turn his app on," they asserted. They didn't speculate on reasons to do so, though.

Possible motivations to deliver food during a flash flood

There are two plausible reasons that someone would get on their bike to deliver food during a flash flood. Either they will be fired if they don't show or the pay is high enough to drag them into the hellmouth.

The first issue has found voice in the Tales from Your Server subreddit. In the thread, a person described the consequences of refusing to work during Hurricane Henry: "I'm in CT and during Henri, my restaurant FIRED 3 people for calling out. Don't get me wrong, my area wasn't [affected] TOO bad, but people were still scared!" Others described similar threats for not working in inclement weather. The OP was asked to work during Ida.

On the other hand, delivery apps pay better in flash floods. Vice reports that many delivery riders traversed New York City this week because the inclement weather means more people are ordering food and fewer riders are on the street, both of which provide those who do go out with higher pay rates. In some cases, the fear of firing and desire for higher pay may have been combined. As Vice notes, the delivery service app Relay offered a $2 per order incentive on Wednesday (when Ida wreaked absolute havoc). However, company policy dictated that workers get their schedules the day before and weren't allowed to decline orders in the event of a tornado warning or hurricane.