Delivery drivers have one of the most dangerous jobs in America, statistically speaking, which is why many workers choose to carry a firearm to protect themselves, even if it’s a violation of company policy. It’s better to have to look for a new job than to lose your life over a pizza, breadsticks, and the little cash you might be carrying, after all.
One Uber Eats driver may be scouring the want ads today after using his legally-owed firearm to defend himself against an armed robber in Austin, Texas, even though the company prohibits drivers from carrying on the job.
The delivery worker went to Arbor Terrace apartments, which is just off Interstate 35 near East Oltorf Street in Southeast Austin, around 2:25 a.m. on Saturday, an arrest affidavit says.
When the delivery was done, the worker turned around to find a man aggressively standing very close to him. That man was identified by police as 37-year-old Gabriel Menchaca Palomino.
When the driver told Palomino to back off, he instead pulled a gun.
“Palomino asked (the man) ‘Do you know what time it is,’ as if he was trying to distract (the man), while grabbing the bandana that was around his neck, and pulling it up over his mouth and nose,” the affidavit says.
Palomino then pointed a black, semi-automatic Glock handgun at the man, the court documents say.
The delivery man pulled out a Sig Sauer P238 handgun and pointed it at Palomino.
“For a brief second both Palomino and (the man) just stood there, not moving, when Palomino moved off toward the end of the parking lot,” the affidavit says.
I’m picturing Palomino’s eyes becoming as big as dinner plates as it dawns on him that his unarmed and helpless victim is actually ready and willing to protect himself, before he slowly backs away and turns tail.
The Uber driver contacted police, and in a remarkable coincidence, happened to see the suspect again as officers were on scene taking report.
“That’s the guy who just tried to rob me,” the man told police.
During an interview with police, Palomino said he had tried to help the delivery man from being robbed by another person.
To absolutely no one’s surprise, except perhaps Palomino, officers didn’t buy his story. He was taken into custody on charges of aggravated robbery, and the Uber Eats driver went on about his evening.
Like the vast majority of defensive gun uses in this country, the delivery driver didn’t have to pull the trigger of his pistol to save himself from the armed robber. The presence of the legally-owned firearm was enough to prevent the crime from continuing any further without any shots being fired. The driver got to go home safe and sound at the end of his shift, and the bad guy’s behind bars. It would be a happy ending, except for the fact that the driver is almost certain to lose his gig at Uber because he could protect himself.
Even as pizza chains like Domino’s and Papa John’s have quietly changed their policies against armed drivers and now leave any possible disciplinary action up to individual franchise owners, companies like Uber continue to maintain a blanket policy of disarmed drivers. Clearly there are plenty of contractors like this man in Austin who choose to ignore the policy in favor of being able to act in self-defense, so perhaps it’s time Uber shifted its policy in recognition of the human right of self-defense. In the meantime, the Uber Eats driver might want to check out DoorDash, which doesn’t appear to have a written policy requiring drivers to be disarmed.