An UberEats delivery driver has received an estimated £39,000 ($55,000) in donations after issuing an emotional plea for customers to give tips.
Riley Elliot posted a TikTok video last week outlining the hardships of gig-economy workers and saying he was facing homelessness, adding: “I’m out here risking my life in a pandemic and no one cares.”
The video has now garnered millions of views, and a major crowdfunding effort has allowed him to move into a new home. He is now using the money to donate to others in need.
“I have been just totally blown away,” Elliot told TODAY. “None of it was expected. I didn’t post the video expecting people to reach out or expecting money or handouts or anything.
“Once we reached the point where we were like, ‘OK, now we’ll definitely be able to get into a place, we don’t need all of this,’ I started literally just giving money away.
Something needs to be done about this. https://t.co/PvxbgiQl2s— Christian St. Croix (@Christian St. Croix) 1613539362
“We sent money to folks in Texas whose pipes had burst, we sent money to folks who needed medication, sent money to friends who were struggling... We spent about $15,000 that first day, just helping people out with their situations.”
In the original viral video, he said: “Y’all, I wish that people who order UberEats or Doordash understood what it’s like to be a driver.
“I gotta prove three times rent for income in two weeks and I can’t. It doesn’t matter that I’m working multiple jobs, that I barely sleep, that I can barely afford to feed myself.
“I’m about to be homeless for the third time since May and it’s all because people don’t tip their delivery drivers. Like, how hard is it to throw us five bucks?”
The clip prompted a debate about whether customers were to blame for not tipping, or whether companies such as UberEats should be held accountable for not paying their workers enough.
@SaintsCrossing It’s very nice that people are trying to help this man, but the real problem is - why is he getting… https://t.co/hmQmHuA0ej— Andrea Boyack (@Andrea Boyack) 1613615070
@cking73 Lmao, where is your anger for the multi million dollar delivery/food/service industries who refuse to pay… https://t.co/xPtCBlEkpl— Steph (@Steph) 1613817071
Read more: What’s the greatest gift we can give during the pandemic?