When you think about large companies, it’s often easier to find examples of how much they say they care than examples of them actually caring.
Occasionally, therefore, I become unnaturally moved by simple gestures made by companies for reasons of apparent decency — especially if those gestures are aimed at neither their employees or their customers.
Please welcome, then, the Brake Room.
You look at that name and instantly conclude it must be a witty play on words. Yes, this must have something to do with bikes, right?
Well, it’s actually Chick-fil-A stopping to consider all those delivery couriers who work countless hours delivering fried chicken to those too lazy to get it for themselves.
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In this case, we’re talking about people living in or near the Upper East Side of New York.
There, Chick-fil-A has opened a little rest area so that those who work for DoorDash and the like can, quite literally, take a rest. Accompanied, it seems, by a free coffee or water, as well as a place to park their bikes safely and charge their phones.
Yes, they can park their bikes and even, imagine the relief, use a restroom.
You may not adore what some members of Chick-fil-A’s ownership stand for — I may not either — but aren’t you at least a trifle moved by this?
Over recent years, many delivery personnel have observed that they weren’t treated too well by the companies they deliver for — or by the customers they deliver to.
It’s a tough job, one that taxes the body, the brain, and the patience. And one that isn’t exactly highly paid.
These are tech workers who are often taken for granted and paid poorly. The mere fact that even one Chick-fil-A considered making their lives slightly easier is the tiniest win for humanity.
Jared Caldwell, a Chick-fil-A owner and operator in New York, mused: “In metro areas like New York City, we see the same food delivery workers come through nearly every day of the week, several times a day.”
It’s hardly surprising. Many people swear by Chick-fil-A’s food. And many delivery drivers work regular shifts to fit in with their days.
Without them, how would first-world stomachs be quickly satisfied? Without them, how would exceptionally wealthy fast-food companies be able to offer delivery at all?
There are a couple of other aspects that are unusually civilized. Any delivery rider can use the Brake Room, whether they’re delivering Chick-fil-A or not. And we’re talking (a particular part of) New York in the winter, so the Brake Room is actually warm.
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The downside, as you may have feared, is that the Brake Room’s existence is temporary. It’ll close in April.
But perhaps it shouldn’t. Perhaps, in fact, more fast-food emporiums should consider giving delivery personnel a resting place as a gentle and decent recognition of their role.
In the summer, delivery couriers will still get thirsty. They’ll still need to go to the restroom. They’ll still need a rest.
As fast-food companies peddle ads that profess the joys their products bring, why not offer the tiniest respect to the people who often bring that alleged joy to customers?
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