Sunday, November 4, 2012

Moo Shu Pork in a Storm

Something I have grown to despise: people who order restaurant deliveries in the midst of an impending hurricane.

On Monday afternoon, just hours before Sandy blew in and the lights blew out, I ducked out for a quick walk around my East Village block. This was incredibly stupid – the heavy rains had begun to fall, Mayor Bloomberg was practically screaming at all NYC residents to get and stay indoors, winds upwards of 50 miles an hour were already whipping up the city, and as we would later learn, several people died on this fateful afternoon, struck by fallen trees. But I needed a quick breath of air before we were to be shut in by “Frankenstorm”, and though I myself nearly blew away, I was otherwise fortunate to have lived to tell about it.

Anyway it was during this quick stroll I was surprised to find a few die-hard restaurants still open for business, and even more shocking, their delivery men, crouching beneath flimsy raincoats and bracing themselves against unprecedented winds, coming and going with deliveries in hand - ON BICYCLES, no less, because this is how it’s done in Manhattan.

Now really, how much of an A-Hole does one have to be to think that calling in for a pizza or Pad Thai delivery and subjecting another human being to such dangerous elements is acceptable behavior? And then showing their appreciation for such extraordinary efforts with a measly two-dollar tip? I am not a hater by any stretch of the imagination, but this calls for a bit of a rant.

I recognize that in some cases, delivery service truly is a vital necessity for those unable to leave their homes due to illness, disability and the like (and to such individuals I absolutely do not direct this anger). And I appreciate that bicycle delivery service employs a large number of people in NYC, many of whom are recent immigrants and may be struggling to survive in a city that can be unforgiving. But even those who needed those last few hours of work should have been granted the mercy - and maybe even a cash advance from their employers - to scuttle home to their families and hunker down, just as their customers were doing when they called in for their beloved Moo Shu Pork.

The dangerous and often thankless job of bicycle delivery was highlighted earlier this year in an article published in the New York Times, and I hope that anyone who missed it will take a moment to read it now. And to stop and think for a moment next time they call on someone to provide a (typically) luxury service that could very well end a life.

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