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On The Need For Hazard Pay, Part 29

, , , | Legal | May 13, 2022

When I was a teenager, I delivered pizzas. I was relatively affluent for a teenager; I had my own car, my own cellphone, and a GPS device. 

I don’t know if all pizza places do it this way, but for the one I worked for, we were required to deliver in our own car. They had their own GPS devices, but mine was nicer and not crusted in gunk. Still, I was required to take the work GPS with me when working.

Generally, the way it went was that I would load up the back of my car with pizzas, make sure that the lighted topper was secure, and I’d take off.

One day, I got into an accident. I was driving through an intersection when a beast of a car — dark and black with a chrome grill — slammed into the passenger side of mine.

Thankfully, it was turning, so instead of simply ending me then and there, it tore along the side of mine, pushing my car onto two tires. Then, it sped off in the direction I had been going, taking my passenger side door with it.

Honestly, I don’t remember if I had the green or if I had accelerated into a yellow; the impact shook me up pretty badly. It might have been partly my fault.

Regardless, after the accident, I sat in my car shaking for a while. I had the presence of mind, barely, to write the licence plate number on one of the receipts with me with the pen I had.

Then, I called my boss, got his answering machine, and left a message.

Me: “Hey, I just got into a car accident. I don’t think I can get these pizzas to their destinations in a timely fashion; in fact, I think that they’re all unsaleable. You’re going to have to remake them and get [Other Driver] to deliver them. I’ll try to take the bus back to work. Thanks, bye.”

Then, I unbuckled myself, climbed into the wreckage of the back of my car, and opened the pizza boxes. The pizzas were a mess. I was shaken up.

I started eating them. I also started sucking coke out of a two-litre that was leaking in the back. I’m not sure if I wanted to hydrate or if I somehow thought that this would stop it from ruining the backseat of my car.

Well, it turns out that my boss was rather worried by my dazed-sounding phone message. He got my location from the work GPS and sent an ambulance and police car to me.

They found me in the back of my car covered in pizza gunk and sticky soda. The EMS initially thought that the mix of cheese and tomato sauce was gore. Then, the police thought that I was stealing the pizzas and that the driver of the car was trying to take the bus back to work.

The police wound up calling my boss to confirm my identity. He tore them a new one. We’re both black, and he thought that the police were being racist. He even got their badge numbers and made an official complaint.

Anyway, EMS eventually took me to the hospital to get looked at, and at some point during the ambulance ride, I passed out. When I woke up, I was being transferred to a hospital gurney. I tried to tell them I didn’t need it, but they wouldn’t let me stand up to prove I could walk.

Eventually, the whole crew from work arrived at the hospital to check up on me. The boss had said, “No more orders,” delivered the ones left, closed shop (though he was still paying everyone) and, between him and [Other Driver], drove everyone to the hospital to see me.

[Other Driver] told me a funny thing. There was a badly damaged car in the parking lot of the apartment he had delivered one of my pizzas to. Black with chrome grill. He’d thought, haha, wouldn’t it be a funny coincidence if it was the same one that hit me?

He had written down the licence plate number. I had him get my pants out of the cubby and we pulled the pizza- and soda-stained receipt from my pocket. We stared at the barely-legible numbers I had scribbled onto the receipt.

They matched.

Related:
On The Need For Hazard Pay, Part 28
On The Need For Hazard Pay, Part 27
On The Need For Hazard Pay, Part 26
On The Need For Hazard Pay, Part 25
On The Need For Hazard Pay, Part 24

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