A TikTok video exposing the financial hardships endured by people working for “gig economy” apps went viral this week.
Riley Elliot (Riley Todd, that is, until he is married) uploaded a video that struck a serious chord with people. That video has hundreds of thousands of likes and comments; Elliot’s account also blew up to over 17,000 followers.
The video shows Elliot in a vehicle, visibly upset after delivering food. He says, “Y’all I wish that people who order UberEats or Doordash understood what it’s like to be a driver.”
In tears, Elliot continues: he was paid only $2.50 for a 45-minute job and he had to pay $3 for parking. The customer gave him $1.50 tip.
“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…”
In the on-screen caption he added: “I’m out here risking my life in a pandemic and no one cares.”
The crux of this issue is, really, that Uber and other delivery apps do not treat their drivers as employees, which denies those drivers fair wages, minimum wages, and benefits.
On Twitter, responses mirrored the comments on TikTok. People sympathized with Elliot and argued about whether tipping is the real problem, or if it is, in fact, the delivery companies.
Later the same day, Elliot posted that he had seen donations and support. He also explained that his financial situation had changed dramatically with the pandemic, which was why there were expensive items seen in the original video.
Later, he also acknowledged that blaming the customers for not tipping well was not completely fair. He said he believed gig-delivery companies who rely on workers should be treating them fairly. He also stated that the tip-based service industry in America is a broader issue.