It’s the McDonald’s Next to the Arco

“Hi, this is your driver. You put the pin on the map in the middle of the freeway. Where exactly are you?”

“Oh, it’s for my cousin. Let me call him….He says he’s at the Arco.”

“What Arco? I have no idea where he is. There are 100 Arcos in this neighborhood.”

“Hold on…he says he is in the Arco next to the McDonald’s.”

“Still doesn’t help. I could drive for 10 years and still not find an Arco next to a McDonald’s.”

“Why, you don’t know your own city?”

“I assume your are kidding. Get I just get an address or cross streets?”

“No, he doesn’t know.”

“OK, I’m sorry, I have to cancel.”

“OK.”

 

Misfire in Cylinder 5

I looked at the scanner error code: Misfire in Cylinder 5. Great. The Beater with a Heater is a V-6, and one of the six cylinders was acting up.

I decided to talk to him.

“Hey, Cylinder 5, what’s up with you?”

“What do you mean?”

“You’re misfiring, messing up the whole engine.”

“Woah, slow down. I’m just going through a lot of stuff right now, but I’m not messing up the whole engine.”

“You aren’t? I’m getting less acceleration off the line and sluggish top end.”

“Ooooh, ‘less acceleration off the line,’ oooh. What, you are Richard Petty, now? It’s a minivan! With dents in it I might add.”

“Listen, you aren’t pulling your weight.”

“Think of it this way. You have six cylinders. I’m just one. You have five others ready to take up the slack. If we worked for a city or state road crew, you’d have one guy doing the work and five others watching. So already you are ahead.”

Meg? Is that you, Meg?

In one of my first food deliveries, I went to the wrong address.

I transposed the last two numbers in my cranium. It was also the first time I didn’t bring the phone with me to the door, preventing me from checking the details when things went south.

A guy came to the door. “Meg?”

“No.”

“You didn’t order food?”

“No!” he said and shut the door.

Some neighbors on a porch nearby watched with amusement.

“None of you are Meg, are you?”

“That’s two doors down,” one said helpfully, pointing.

“Ohhhh! Thanks!”

I went two doors down and knocked. No answer.

Back to car.

The phone rang.

The real Meg was waiting TEN doors down.

She said, “I called because I could see you on the app but you weren’t here!”

Oh, I was at the right place, I thought.

If you lived ten doors north of here.

Beat Up and Broken

Riding through LA at night, I stopped at the red light. Out of the shadows, four men came up to my passenger door. All the doors and windows were closed.

One guy looked at my phone in the holder on my dash. Later I surmised they thought I was an Uber driver or something.

“Hey, man, can you give us a ride?”

Even if they thought I was an Uber car, did they think Uber hands out free rides?

“All the doors are broken,” I shrugged as I spoke loud enough to be heard through the shut windows.

He turned to his friends hanging back a half step. “He says the doors are all broken.”

The doors are indeed broken. You can’t open them, or you have to know exactly where to talk to them, like a stubborn mule, to get them to open. It is a true “beater with a heater.”

The biggest guy stepped forward, “Come on, man, give us a RIDE!” more demanding than asking.

Sure, no problem. I always let strangers in high crime areas get in my car late at night. Sounds like the beginning of a very special “Law and Order” episode. At one point one detective says to another, “But why would he let strangers in a high crime area in his car? It just DOESN’T ADD UP.”

“The doors are broken!” I repeated.

“Oh, man! The doors aren’t broken!”

As he says this, he reached out and tried to open the passenger door.

It didn’t open.

It’s broken.

All the doors are broken. Like my heart after every relationship for the last 37 years.

The rear hatch door doesn’t open at all. It’s frozen in place. The same way my face was when Beth broke off our engagement in 1987.

“Yes, they ARE ALL BROKEN!” I repeated for the third time.

“Man, you got ‘em all LOCKED! You just don’t want to give us a RIDE!”

Well, they aren’t locked.

They are broken.

7 People You Meet as A Food Delivery Driver

You meet many interesting people as a food delivery courier. Here are seven.

Ms. Crazy-and-Unreasonable Request

This customer asks you to perform unusual or unreasonable tasks. “Can you do a magic trick for a tip?” they ask. Huh?

Mr. Cancel-Order-After-Getting-It

I’m not exactly sure how this works, but I believe the strategy with this guy is is to place an order, and then before the driver can close out the transaction on the app, he cancels the order with some lame excuse. Free food!

Mr. Too-Stoned-To-Answer-the-Door

Mr. Too-Stoned or Too-Drunk places the order and then falls asleep. You stand outside pounding on the door. I try to get them awake by yelling, “Chad, get up! The zombies are coming!

Too-Cheap-to-Tip-and-Doesn’t-Want-To-Face-the-Driver Lady

She won’t tip but doesn’t want to face you. She writes comments like “Leave bag in the door” or “Leave it on the porch and leave.” Or she cracks the door and sticks out only her hand, or tries to look distracted by pretending she is on the phone or dealing with a baby.