When photographer Johnny Miller saw a hooded grubhub delivery driver wading through waist-deep water in the streets of Brooklyn, his stomach turned.
The delivery man was wheeling his electric bicycle, clutching a customer’s takeout order in a white plastic bag. Around him, people in cars waited for firefighters to rescue them.
New York and New Jersey were devastated by a record-breaking deluge Wednesday night as Hurricane Ida bombarded the Northeast.
The tropical storm brought with it heavy winds, rainfall, flash floods, and a tornado warning. New York declared a state of emergency, prompting many transportation services in the city to pause operations.
As of writing, 15 deaths have been linked to the storm. Residents have been warned to stay at home to avoid the harsh weather conditions outside, but it appears like several delivery drivers don’t have the same option.
The delivery man that Miller saw braving the floods in Brooklyn is believed to be from GrubHub. The 40-year-old freelance photographer captured the scene on video and shared it on Twitter, writing:
“And through it all! @Grubhub delivery still out there bringing your dinner #ida #flooding #brooklyn”
A spokesperson for GrubHub told Insider they haven’t been able to verify if the driver is one of their gig workers, saying that the safety of their “delivery workers is a top priority.”
“While we always appreciate the hard work drivers put in to get the job done, no delivery worker for any company or restaurant should ever take an action that would jeopardize their safety,” said the spokesperson.
Miller tweeted the footage from his Unequal Scenes account, which documents inequality and poverty around the world.
The video, which has now garnered over 9.5 million views on Twitter, sparked angry comments at the delivery company and the customer who ordered during the storm.
“Seeing this guy push his bicycle past these people in Mercedes to deliver Chinese food just turned my stomach,” Miller said. “Some of us have the privilege to not work during a disaster and some of us don’t.”
Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York saw the video and shared it on her own Twitter account, urging people not to order delivery during harsh weather conditions.
“If it’s too dangerous for you, it’s too dangerous for them. Raid your cabinets or ask a neighbor for help,” she wrote.
Some food delivery companies offer drivers extra money when demand is high, which can be a dangerous incentive as they are compelled to work, even when there are risks to their safety.
Several news organizations have reached out to Miller, offering him money to license the clip. He has received more than $1,700 so far and plans to give the funds to the delivery man in his video. However, he has yet to determine his identity and find him.
Miller recently headed to Brooklyn to bike around Williamsburg, hoping to find the restaurant that matches the logo printed on the white plastic bag the delivery driver carried. However, he soon discovered that the bag was a generic takeout often used for Chinese food.
Despite being featured in the news multiple times, finding the man is proving to be difficult.
Miller called on DoorDash, UberEats, and GrubHub via Twitter to help locate the driver, knowing that these companies track GPS on all their deliveristas.
Representative Ocasio-Cortez also rallied her followers to help with the search.
“This is a huge long shot, but the person who filmed this deliverista last night received $1,700+ from media outlets who wanted to license the footage,” she wrote on Twitter. “They want to give all of it to the worker, but need finding him. Any tips? This was ~10:10pm near Roebling/11th st in BK.”
Help find this delivery driver by sharing this story with your friends and family!
— Unequal Scenes (@UnequalScenes) September 2, 2021