Food delivery drivers keep moving during snowstorm

Food deliveries don’t stop in a snowstorm. Photo by Allison Rohan

Extreme weather conditions like snowstorms and blizzards do not stop food delivery workers from getting customers their pizzas, pasta, ethnic food or whatever they fancy. And bad weather usually means more business.

Before a storm, deliveries are slow because everyone shops like they will be locked up for a month,” said Shawn MacPherson, a delivery person employed by DoorDash and GrubHub from Glen Falls, New York. “Then the storm hits and it is order after order.”

Governor Andrew Cuomo issued a state of emergency in several counties, and most of the state is seeing up to two feet of snow, but it’s just another day on the job for these workers.   

With outdoor dining being canceled there’s a surge in food deliveries. 

MacPherson believes bad weather also means less delivery personnel.  Rough weather conditions make deliveries a hassle and not many sign up for that. 

“Some won’t go out in the snow,” he said. “But I feel like I’m doing a service.”

There are a number of challenges that delivery personnel face, from freezing weather to difficult roads. So driving the right vehicles and a good road sense are extremely important. 

Gary Rockdashil, 52, from Syracuse, New York who also works for Doordash said he pulls out his Dodge Truck to deliver food in storms and rough weather conditions since larger vehicles are easier to maneuver. He drives a Jeep Grand Cherokee otherwise. 

“If the weather gets extremely bad, I drive my Dodge truck,” he said. “But it was okay and not that challenging today.” 

MacPherson drives a 2012 Jetta to do his deliveries. He said he wanted to buy snow tires for his car, but is now working to pay off his car and credit debt before he makes the purchase. 

“Driving is hard with summer tires,” he said. “Cars tend to skid on icy roads which when in contact with the exteriors of the tires create the friction. Many cars get stuck in the snow and need to be rescued or towed.”

Earlier this year in a  snowstorm, MacPherson got stuck and a motorist pulled him out with his truck. 

But this is not the only challenge. Keeping the food warm is hard and for MacPherson so is finding the house numbers with street lights off at night. 

The silver lining in all this for many drivers is the sometimes hefty tips that they earn. 

Sometimes with bad weather people tip better,” said Rockdashil. “But we make extra money from Doordash also, as they add larger peak pays when there is bad weather.” 

DoorDash also has a mechanism where people tip the delivery personnel before their orders are delivered. People who tip well get their orders on time with an excellent service. 

We always see a lot of no tip delivery offers and have to decline them until an offer makes sense to take,” said Rockdashil. 

But there are a lot of people who also do not show any respect or courtesy towards their riders. 

Matt Oakes of Buffalo, New York,  tries to keep the food warm in his red bag and delivers it fresh. He works to provide for his family and manage his bills. 

“We are out here doing a job, whether to feed our families or to pay bills,” said Oakes. “Many people don’t tip or even say thank you.”