Michigan Amazon driver Derick Lancaster’s moment of frustration turned into national news when he told Twitter that he was fed up with his job and was abandoning his Prime truck, full of packages and key in the ignition, in a parking lot.
The pressure to deliver more and more, and the fact that he was late to a family engagement because of the job pushed Lancaster, 22, over the edge, he told the Detroit Free Press.
Lancaster told Heavy that he was severely overworked. “I just mentally couldn’t do it anymore,” he said.
With Colorful Language, Lancaster Said He Was Ditching the Van; ‘Y’all Can Have That,’ He Tweeted
On Monday, Lancaster parked the van at a gas station near Detroit. Fed up, he tweeted, “I quit Amazon” and gave a rough location where he abandoned the van, adding “Y’all can have that bitch and it’s full of gas wit the keys in the IGNITION.”
He then took a Lyft home around 2 p.m., Detroit News reported.
After cooling down, and receiving calls from Amazon higher-ups and his manager, he returned to the van and waited for someone from Amazon to pick it up, Lancaster told Heavy.
“I knew if I had let that van get taken that would have been a felony on my record,” he said.
Within about 10 minutes of posting the Tweet, Lancaster had nearly 500 likes and hundreds of mentions. “I kept getting these notifications and I’m like, ‘Damn, I can’t believe it,’” Lancaster told Heavy.
Lancaster Was Instantly Crowned a ‘Hero’ & ‘King’ on Social Media
Lancaster became a folk hero of sorts to many online with his Tweet. One user called him a hero, pasting his Tweet onto the cover of a copy of Marx and Engels’”Communist Manifesto.” When another told Lancaster that he had just lost someone’s “iPhone and dog food,” another said, “But he saved his mental health,” garnering 13,000 likes.
As of Thursday, Lancaster’s original Tweet had 225,000 likes.
Within a couple days, Lancaster was doing local TV news interviews, and was even a guest via FaceTime on CNN on Thursday.
On FaceTime wit CNN news these my dawgs 😂😂😂😂 pic.twitter.com/ldyszOsywP
— Derick. (@_lilderick) July 2, 2020
He told local ABC affiliate WXYZ that he acknowledged his method of quitting was “immature and irresponsible.”
“At the same time, enough is enough,” he added.
Lancaster Told Heavy He Hopes His Tweet Raised Awareness About Overworked Drivers — But He Wasn’t Trying to Encourage People Indiscriminately to Quit Their Jobs
Liberate yourself brotha. pic.twitter.com/52IY2pgJ2z
— Havana (@Havana1313) June 30, 2020
Lancaster doesn’t regret for a minute walking off the job, he told Heavy. He said he thinks it “could be a good thing” if it draws attention to the plight of many delivery drivers, who have faced dramatically increased workloads during the coronavirus pandemic, Vice reported. Quotas for some drivers have more than doubled, the outlet reported.
However, Lancaster said he wishes he did it differently — or at least less publicly — because he also doesn’t want people to necessarily follow his example.
“I wish I didn’t go out the way I go out, because I’ve been getting a lot of DMs from people saying they quit their jobs, too,” he told Heavy, adding, “If you can’t mentally or physically do it anymore, they can always hire another person.”
“I can’t control what people do, though,” he said.
Lancaster said that for now, he is taking a little time, as he fields media requests, but will soon be back in the job market.
When reached for comment by Heavy, an Amazon spokesperson said, “This does not reflect the high standards we have for delivery partners. We are taking this matter seriously and are taking appropriate action.”