Lostmates (or, When Your Rural Postmates Driver Is Hopelessly Lost)

We’re on vacation up in the mountains, and it’s been raining and foggy the entire time. The drive up the side of the mountain was kind of treacherous, and we became soaked bringing our things into the rental. So the first night we were here, I had no intention of driving anywhere for food.

Enter Postmates!

It’s the only option in this area, so we ordered dinner. The Postmates app said the restaurant was seven miles away, so we figured that would be good, the food would be warm, etc. But about five minutes after the order had been accepted, I looked at the Postmates delivery map, and it showed that the restaurant was an hour away.

That’s annoying (well, Postmates is annoying in general), but it’s not even the story. The story was our delivery driver Isaac. We kept an eye on him on the map, and while, yes, it was raining, he was moving very slowly. So we waited and waited, and finally, Isaac arrived.

He ignored my delivery instructions to drop off the food on the porch here (so I don’t have to interact with possibly unvaccinated delivery people). Instead of doing that, he knocked on the door.

So I walked out onto the porch – wearing only a t-shirt on top – and opened the sliding door, and in came the cold wind and rain. I said, “Hi, thanks so much for working in this weather. We appreciate it.” And he just stood there, not handing me the bag. So I reached out and took it.

Then he said, “How do I get down from here?” So I stood there in the cold, wind, and rain telling him I had no idea. I explained that I wasn’t from the area, and that I’d just got here myself. To which he answered, “Really?”


A couple of points here.

First, we’re staying on a windy mountain road with turnouts and other roads and driveways everywhere, and it’s very confusing and disorienting. So even if I did know how to get down to the main road, it would have taken me five minutes to explain it to him, there in the cold, wind, and rain, while my dinner became colder and colder.

Secondly, and most confusingly, how did he find us? Using the map on his phone, perhaps? How about letting that guide you down? So I said, “Can’t you just go back the way you came?” While standing there in the cold, wind, and rain.

He just looked at me and said, “I’m lost.”

Now, if I’m in the town or city where I live, and someone tells me they’re lost, I help them. There’s an emotional reaction when someone uses that word, “lost.” You want to be helpful. You want to be kind.

But I could not offer any help, because I didn’t know where to tell him to go, and not for nothing, but I can’t imagine, as a delivery person, making my delivery and telling the customer my problems. It would never occur to me. Maybe that sounds harsh or judgmental, but again, I could not help, and I was standing there in the cold, wind, and rain in a t-shirt.

I don’t know. It wasn’t even the question or saying he was lost. It was his entire demeanor. I realize it’s upsetting to be lost or out of your element, but the minute I opened the door, I felt him guilt-tripping me.

Like not handing me the food, asking for directions, and then when I explained why I can’t be of any help, telling me he’s lost. As if that were my fault somehow.

What purpose does saying, “I’m lost” serve, other than to make the person you’re talking to feel bad for you? I felt like he was manipulating me in some kind of weird passive-aggressive Postmate encounter.

After I thought I’d convinced him why I couldn’t help and expressed how I was sorry about that, standing there in the cold, wind and rain in a t-shirt, without saying anything, he turned to leave, took a step, then made a move like he was going to turn around and say something or ask something else, but he didn’t, he just left.

It was the strangest run-in I’ve ever had with someone delivering food to me. It happened two days ago, and here I am, still thinking about it (and typing about it).

I felt terrible when he left, and I can see that I may have come across as unkind from his perspective. But eventually, I just told myself that Isaac being lost and not knowing how to use his phone to get himself found wasn’t my problem.

So I hope everything worked out okay Isaac, merry Christmas.

day 25


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