'Who orders home delivery in the middle of a flood?': Viral Ida video puts food delivery in spotlight

·3 min read

As Hurricane Ida brought severe flooding to New York, one person who appeared to be delivering food was filmed pushing a bike through waist-deep water with a bag hung over the handlebars.

Now the freelance photojournalist who recorded the video, which has since been viewed millions of times, is searching for the person who braved New York City's flooded streets to delivery the food.

Johnny Miller was leaving the gym when he stopped at the intersection of North 11th and Roebling Streets in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, at 10:02 p.m. on Wednesday. He noticed a person struggling to deliver food on a bike and tweeted the video he took almost immediately.

"If 11 or 40 million people see my video, all those people now can't say 'I didn't know what it was like.' They can't say they didn't know what it was like those who don't have to privilege to not work during disasters," Miller told USA TODAY.

The video caught the attention of Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York who urged people not to order food during storms.

“If it’s too dangerous for you, it’s too dangerous for them,” she tweeted. “Raid your cabinets or ask a neighbor for help.”

Aftermath of flash floods: Flash floods deluge New York, New Jersey as Tropical Storm Ida drenches Northeast

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As Miller searches for the person's identity, over a dozen news organizations have offered him money to license the video. He's raised $1,800 as of today and intends to donate the funds to the person.

The New York Times investigations team and the Workers Justice Project, an organization based in New York, are assisting Miller in his search.

A delivery worker makes their way in the rainfall from Hurricane Ida during a flood on Intervale Avenue on September 1, 2021.
A delivery worker makes their way in the rainfall from Hurricane Ida during a flood on Intervale Avenue on September 1, 2021.

Miller's video has struck a conversation around worker's rights, protections and inequality in the city. Twitter users and Miller argued delivery workers should be paid hazard pay during floods and other disaster situations. Hazard pay is additional compensation paid to employees who are working under hazardous conditions, extreme physical discomfort or distress.

After watching Miller's video, BBC reporter, Luxmy Gopal asked "who orders home delivery in the middle of a flood?"

"It’s time y’all learned to cook. Or use the microwave to heat up a frozen meal. Also it’s okay to eat cereal during historic flooding," Author Meera Nair tweeted.

Miller said he's grateful for the recognition given to gig and delivery workers, who he said should be given better pay and benefits during disastrous conditions like these.

"The real person to focus on here is the delivery man. Even without an identity he's sparked representation for hundreds of gig and delivery workers," Miller said. "I just hope we can find him and give him the recognition he deserves."

Follow Gabriela Miranda on Twitter: @itsgabbymiranda

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Viral Hurricane Ida video puts New York food delivery in spotlight

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