Delivery drivers get a bad rap. OK, yes, they leave packages in the strangest places: in bins, under parked cars, with “neighbours” who live several miles away. They throw them over fences into gardens or, in the case of one driver in Leicestershire this week, through an open upstairs window. But everyone knows that is because they are so short of time and so badly paid they have to take shortcuts. Blame the system, not the driver.
It may be time to start a campaign to laud put-upon delivery drivers, with awards for tales of derring-do. An early candidate is Asda driver Arthur Kennedy-Anielak, who went to the aid of an 84-year-old woman in Hyde, Greater Manchester. She had collapsed shortly before he arrived with her shopping and, even though she insisted she was OK, he stayed with her and encouraged her to call an ambulance. She later wrote to Asda to praise his caring attitude.
Another potential award-winner is the Just Eat driver in Belfast who took seriously a customer’s request to collect tablets for her flu as well as the fish and chips she had ordered. Ordering the meal was just a ruse to get the medication, but the driver happily brought both.
But the winner of our inaugural awards has to be the Ocado driver who stepped in to investigate a burglary after police refused to do so. Bethany and Paul Eaton were on holiday in Dubai earlier this month when they received a call from their childminder to say the back door of their home in Chislehurst, south-east London, had been smashed in and the house burgled. A neighbour called the police but they refused to attend, and it was left to a passing Ocado driver to check whether the burglar was still in the house and what had been taken. The police will now presumably reciprocate by nipping round with their groceries.
Such stories are surprisingly frequent, and not just in homes but on the streets: the delivery driver who pulled a victim from the wreckage of a car after it had crashed in Liverpool; the Greggs driver who handed out doughnuts to motorists stranded by a blizzard in Berwick-upon-Tweed; the Deliveroo and UberEats drivers who backed up a colleague when he was attacked in London. Such reports are also frequent in the US.
What seems to be happening is that, as public services get hollowed out, the growing legion of delivery drivers are being forced to fill the gap. So don’t be quite so dismissive when you next have to go hunting in the rubbish for your Amazon package.