He needs it more than me

This afternoon, as I was leaving for yoga, I watched the AmazonFresh delivery truck come down my street to deliver my weekly groceries. As he pulled up to my house, I heard a crackle crackle crackle as he drove the backend of his truck into the backend of my car. He was trying to avoid another car that was in a big hurry coming towards him. What I didn’t know, is that this driver was about to be in worse shape than my car.

I immediately shouted some expletive at this guy from my porch (me, swear? never.) and went down to assess the damage. Sure enough, he mangled the backend of my car. I don’t want to post the photos until we work out the details with the insurance companies. You see my street is excessively narrow, so I don’t really fault the guy. As I approached the driver, I could see that he was visiblty shaken. He is about 23 or 24 years old and he was scared. His truck was still blocking the street but he couldn’t move it because he was literally shaking. That’s when I started to learn about Bryce.

Bryce lives in Snohomish, and commutes an hour a day to drive this truck. This is his second incident in his short month of work as a driver for Amazon – he had a run in with a fire truck a few weeks ago. I don’t really think he is cut out to be a truck driver. What I also learned from Bryce, was that he is now going to be unemployed. Yep, he is guaranteed to lose his job over this, as Amazon’s insurance won’t cover him anymore. I spoke some more to Bryce and found out that he is the father of 2 year old boy, and he drives this truck to support his wife (who is in school) and his kid. When I heard him tell me that, I felt an empty hole in my belly. A couple thousand dollars of damage to my car is really not that big of deal to me, when compared to what he now is going to go through with his family.

When I was 25, I inadvertently signed off on a CD image for the PC game I was managing at Microsoft. I say inadvertently, because as we discovered later, the image was defective and Microsoft shipped 25,000 coasters. Recalling and reburning the disks cost Microsoft $500,000. You know what happened to me? I got promoted. I figured out what happened with the image and found a solution to the problem, but it still didn’t cover up the fact that Microsoft lost half a million dollars due to my error. Ironic, right?

In the grand scheme of things, Bryce’s little accident is meaningless. To Bryce though, its everything. He is going to struggle to find a new job to support his family. He has to drive the rest of the shift tonight trying to figure out how he can explain this incident to his wife. I can imagine he will have a sleepless night trying to figure out how he is going to support his two year old son. If I could do this all over again, I would have stopped him from calling his manager. He needs this job more than I need a rear bumper.

Amazon, if you’re listening, give Bryce another chance. Find him a job in the warehouse loading trucks instead of driving them. His family is depending on it.

UPDATE: April 26th
Bryce’s manager called me this morning. Apparently Bryce will be meeting with a “Driver Review Board” to determine his fate. Not quite the Spanish Inquisition, but not a walk in the park either. The board has his manager, a rep from the insurance company and a few peers who will determine Amazon’s exposure by allowing him to drive. So, he’s not automatically fired which is good news. His manager was very nice and told me that they really like Bryce, but he did agree that a warehouse job is probably better suited to him. I should have more information about his eventuality in a few days.

I want to thank everyone who reached out to me, and especially those of you who work at Amazon and offered to contact his manager too.

UPDATE 2: April 26th
I got word that a friend of mine inside Amazon had contacted Bryce’s manager’s manager’s manager (or manager^3) directly. I kinda figured that was the case when I spoke to Bryce’s direct manager this morning. It seemed like he had read my post, just by the few things he said to me. This friend also mentioned that they sent email stating “it might be best for the company if we keep people on who are so customer-oriented that even the person that *got run into* is advocating keeping him.” Right on. My friends are rad.

Thank you. And I’m sure Bryce also thanks you.

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22 comments on “He needs it more than me
  1. Amie M says:

    When I read that this is Bryce’s second accident in less than a month I immediately started thinking ‘he deserves to lose his job’. See, my dad got fired from driving a big rig because he took out two cars in a short time-span and that was after he went through big-rig driver’s training.

    I come from a rather, let’s just say ‘colorful’ family; I’m the White Sheep. My dad lost that job because he’s been known to smoke crack, have a tendency to loose his temper very easily, and just be a little bit of an all-around deadbeat. Whether any of these contributed to his bi-rig accidents, I don’t know.

    But when you said Bryce has a child and a wife to support and he was visibly shaken, I started to feel for the guy. And when you said Amazon should give him a job loading trucks rather than driving them, I totally agree. Everyone that wants a second chance should get one. But if he screws that job up too, then I start thinking Bryce might be my dad all over again. Unfortunately, we will probably never know the eventual outcome of Bryce’s situation.

  2. stuart says:

    Matt, you continue to impress me with your thoughtful, caring approach to life. Keep that shit up!

  3. Shawna says:

    I think he should receive a second chance – Sometimes when we really need a job we will say yes to anything that promises a paycheck, but what hiring managers really need to do is to give a good qualifying interview to find out where that person will be the best asset, unfortunately too much of the time is they’re “filling holes” with bodies instead of taking the time to hire the right person. If this was the case, then Bryce may have been put in the warehouse from the beginning. He defiantly deserves a 2nd chance in a more suitable position with the company – and it will cost them less them firing him and someone new to train all over again… Believe me, I know.

  4. ARC says:

    This was really nicely written. Thanks for sharing. I too would have jumped to conclusions, but it’s great that you took the time to speak with him.

    You can probably call or email the Amazon Fresh support line to see if you can talk to his manager directly. (or forward them this post :)

  5. Mithun Dhar says:

    Everyone deserves a second chance. Because of compassionate and kind people like you, the world is still a nice place to live in despite everything that is going around us. Karma’s a big give-get thing and as long as we don’t forget that, life’s going to be great.

  6. mattk says:

    Just so everyone understands, I’ll be contacting his manager tomorrow. I do have his manager’s contact info. However, it’s pretty clear that Amazon’s insurance company won’t cover him as a driver due to this being his second incident. This was probably his last day as an Amazon Fresh driver. Not sure Amazon can do much about that.

    However, if people care enough, maybe this doesn’t have to be his last day as an Amazon employee. They just happen to have a huge warehouse with plenty of jobs, so I’m hoping there is another opportunity for him.

    I will definitely be letting his manager know the outpouring of support you all have had. Thank you.

  7. Rebecca says:

    If you find out the contact information of the employee at Amazon who holds Bryce’s fate in their hands, let us know, I will call them too! :)

  8. VML says:

    Amazon is heartless. When I worked there, I saw managers fire people daily. Second chances do not happen there. Spend your energy thinking of a more compassionate place for Bryce to work.

    We have all had bad days. I regularly see people speed down our tiny road in Green Lake and not move an inch to the side to let others pass. Bryce had the misfortune to encounter one such driver.

    Thanks, Matt, for sharing your story, both the good and the bad.

  9. eldan says:

    I’m really OK with a driver with two crashes in a short time losing his driving job. Yes, this is going to be bad for him and his family, but it’s also dangerous for other people around him. If Amazon wants to be nice to him, they should find a different job for him, that isn’t putting the public in danger.

  10. Scott says:

    Well, I’m sure that we all know a dozen bromides that apply here: Bad Things Happen To Good People, Life is Pain (TM), [We Are] Fortune’s Fools, etc. Pick your favorite writer/philosopher, and they probably have something to say about unfortunate situations (of our own making, or otherwise).

    The way you handled the situation speaks volumes about your life… And you’re a good egg. Unfortunately, poor Bryce is probably beating himself up – the good news is that only “stuff” got damaged, no one was physically hurt or killed, and (hopefully) someday soon he’ll be able to laugh it off. Right now must suck though.

    Best wishes to all.

  11. mattk says:

    @Elden, I partially agree. That’s why I think he should work in the warehouse instead. I just don’t think it’s right for him to lose employment outright.

  12. Ed says:

    You can also look at it another way. Amazon gave him a chance, and then another. If they move him to the warehouse, there is no way of knowing that he won’t screw up again, and he will be taking the position of someone they might have hired that has 2 wives, 14 children and a goat.

    In the world of risk management, you have to cut losses at some point. In the world of Utilitarianism, you have to support the 14 children and the goat.

  13. Beth says:

    Matt, I live on one of those narrow streets too. And I’ve “pulled a Bryce” on one of my neighbors cars. I hope your efforts help Bryce out. Thanks for taking the time to make this world a better place.

  14. Amie M says:

    Yay! I’m glad to know Amazon might give him another chance with a warehouse job. Keep us posted as you learn more.

  15. Toni W says:

    Please add me to the list of Bryce’s supporters. We’ve all made mistakes, but it sounds like this time, it was hardly his fault. He happened to be in the wrong place on an incredibly narrow street.

    Please let him and his manager know that we completely support his working elsewhere in the company. Give the manager an opportunity to show the kind of compassion Bryce clearly deserves.

  16. Scott says:

    Wow, after reading update #2, it feels like something right is happening.

  17. Amie M says:

    Just read update #2 – YAY! Way to build goodwill (and do the right thing) Amazon. :)

  18. As a dad, husband, AmazonFresh customer, and neighbor with a name of Bryce too, I now intend on befriending someone named Matt by the end of the day.

    Well played sir.

  19. Frankie says:

    Sort of off topic Matt, but which game was it?

  20. Fnarf says:

    Usually when something like this happens my first thought isn’t “what a dick, he shouldn’t be driving” but “what a dick, sending him out into narrow residential streets in a truck that size”. This is a management problem, not a worker problem. I’ve seen those trucks; there are lots of streets around where they’re JUST TOO BIG. How much special training did he get, and in what circumstances? Driving around some cones in a parking lot isn’t good enough. Sending him out with a GPS unit and a clipboard isn’t good enough.

    Amazon should be sending out vans or the smaller UPS-size panel trucks, not these behemoths. Oh, but maybe that screws up their margins? Well, tough. As far as I’m concerned, Amazon is to blame for recklessly endangering my neighborhood.

    • mattk says:

      For the record, I see many UPS trucks and FedEx trucks go down my street each day. However, their record is spotty too. A FedEx truck hit my ex-wife’s car a while back so maybe you’re right. However, what’s the alternative for these trucks? Special trucks for Seattle? I bet it’s actually cheaper to have large trucks and pay for incidents, then change their standard procedures. I’m not on their side either. For me that wasn’t the issue. The issue was about firing Bryce on the spot, and they aren’t doing that now, so I’m happy.

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