An UberEats driver revealed he was facing being homeless for the third time in less than a year after people refused to tip him.
Riley Elliot posted a tearful video on TikTok detailing the tribulations of food delivery drivers in the US who earn very little money.
"I just spent 45 minutes on a delivery and had to pay $3 (A$3.78) to bring a person their food because there was no free parking near their building and they refused to come out and meet me," he said.
"They tipped me $1.50 (A$1.90) and Uber paid me like $2.50 (A$3.15). Like, I got to prove three times the rent for income in two weeks, and I can't.
"It doesn't matter that I'm working multiple jobs, it doesn't matter that I barely sleep and can barely afford to feed myself."
Mr Elliot said he was about to become homeless for the third time since May, all because people refused to tip their delivery drivers.
"How hard is it to throw us five bucks?" he said.
Mr Elliot added he was risking his life to deliver food amid the coronavirus pandemic and "no one cares".
Debate over whether to tip UberEats drivers
Thousands of people empathised with the driver, but said it should not be on the customer to tip and instead food delivery services like UberEats should pay drivers a more decent wage.
"It's 100 per cent the company's fault for not paying employees more. And charging so much for delivery and extra fees," one said.
"It's not about the tips. Your employer refuses to pay you what you deserve. You deserve better," another wrote.
"Not the people's fault! Blame Uber. Why should people tip if they are already paying for the food and the delivery. Makes no sense," a third added.
However, others said people shouldn't order food if they can't afford to tip their driver.
"If people can't tip they should get their own food or cook," one said.
"Five dollars should be the minimum tip for any delivery," another claimed.
"If you can't afford to tip, you can't afford the service," somebody else wrote.
'Life-changing' gesture for struggling driver
In a follow-up TikTok video, Mr Elliot revealed he had received a number of tips from generous people who saw his tearful plea.
"It's literally been life-changing," he said.
"We are going to be able to get into a place... So thank you to everyone who has taken to time to send us kind words and money."
After receiving almost A$70,000 in donations following his original TikTok video, Mr Elliot has paid it forward to others struggling amid the pandemic.
"Once we reached the point where we were like,'Okay, now we'll definitely be able to get into a place, we don't need all of this', I started literally just giving money away," Mr Elliot told US Today.
"We sent money to folks in Texas whose pipes had burst, we sent money to folks who needed medication, sent money to friends who were struggling… We spent about [A$19,000] that first day, just helping people out with their situations."
UberEats has not responded to requests for comment.
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