THE COURIER

Daniel Rodriguez loves being a bike courier, but he relies on tips to supplement his hourly wage. Can he save enough to finish college and start his dream career?

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Chasing the Dream: Poverty and Opportunity in America is a multi-platform public media initiative that provides a deeper understanding of the impact of poverty on American society. Major funding for this initiative is provided by The JPB Foundation. Additional funding is provided by Ford Foundation.

 

Aired on August 18, 2017, October 20, 2017, March 30, 2018, and December 2, 2019.

TRANSCRIPT

ME AS A PERSON, I LIKE TO BE ACTIVE.

I HATE BEING, YOU KNOW, IN ONE PLACE, NOT MOVING AROUND.

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IT IS BASICALLY THE THIRD PARTY SERVICE OR BASICALLY YOU ORDER FOOD AND THEN GET THE FOOD AS FAST AS WE CAN.

MY NAME IS DANNY RODRIGUEZ AND I'M A COURIER.

I'VE BEEN IN A COURIER FOR TEN MONTHS.

IT'S BEEN A BLESSING.

I LIKE IT.

THE POSITION THAT I AM RIGHT NOW, I'M ACTUALLY THE SHIFT COACH, SO I USUALLY GET PAID $11 AN HOUR, WHICH IS GOOD.

IT IS RESPONSIBILITY TO MOTIVATE THE RIDER.

MAKE SURE YOU GUYS HAVE GREAT DAY OUT THERE.

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THE BACK IS THERE'S A LOT OF PEOPLE THAT COULD GET HURT.

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I DO GET SCARED, GO OUT THERE WITH A POSITIVE ENERGY AND WAKE UP GOOD.

I KNOW THAT'S WHAT I'M GOING TO DO AND WORK HARD FOR IT.

YOU KNOW, YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE SOME INCIDENTS BUT THEY'RE SMALL.

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YOU GET PAID EVERY WEEK.

THE GOOD THING ABOUT THIS COMPANY IS THAT YOU GET PAID BY THE HOUR AND BY TIPS.

LET'S SEE.

I WORK FOUR DAYS A WEEK, AND FOR FOUR DAYS A WEEK I GET PAID -- YOU KNOW, I MAKE $200 IN TIPS, MY CHECK WILL COME UP TO AFTER TAXES LIKE FOUR AND CHANGE OR THREE AND CHANGE.

THE GOOD THING ABOUT IT IS THAT IF YOU DON'T MAKE NO TIPS DURING THAT WEEK, SAY YOU'RE PRETTY SLOW, THE COMPANY WILL GIVE YOU LIKE A GAP PAY.

EVERY DAY IS DIFFERENT.

YOU KNOW, TODAY, I MADE $9 IN TIPS.

TOMORROW I COULD DO 50, 100.

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I AM A SOPHOMORE IN COLLEGE.

MY MAJOR THAT I'M GOING FOR IS CRIMINAL JUSTICE, AND THAT'S WHAT I'M GOING FOR, TO BECOME A POLICE OFFICER.

HERE IS ACTUAL MY POLICE DEPARTMENT THAT I HAVE.

I JOINED THIS PROGRAM CALLED AUXILIARY POLICE OFFICER WITH THE POLICE DEPARTMENT, AND IT'S BEEN LIKE A BLESSING.

I FEEL LIKE I'VE BEEN ON THE RIGHT PATH.

TYPICALLY I'M WAITING FOR THEM TO CALL ME.

BUT I LIVE RIGHT NEXT TO -- I LIVE WITH MY FAMILY, MY MOM, MY LITTLE BROTHER AND MY TWIN SISTER.

HOME WISE, NEVER HAD ANY -- NOW DAYS -- THANK GOD BEEN LIVING HERE 21 YEARS, BUT NEW YORK ITSELF IS EXPENSIVE.

SO I GIVE MY MOM, YOU KNOW, HALF OF MY CHECKS.

I GET PAID $400, I GIVE HER $200.

WHATEVER I'M ABLE TO GIVE, YOU WILL GIVE TO HER BECAUSE IT IS MY MOM AND I FEEL LIKE SHE'S BEEN THERE FOR ME MY WHOLE LIFE.

YOU KNOW, SHE WOULD TAKE FOOD STAMPS, SHE WOULD TAKE A LOT OF THINGS JUST TO PROVIDE TO US.

YOU KNOW, EVEN IF SHE HAD $2, YOU KNOW, IT IS FOR MY KIDS AND SHE WOULD GIVE IT TO US.

BEING A COURIER IS A JOB I WANT TO KEEP UNTIL I BECOME A POLICE OFFICER AND, YOU KNOW, WITH THE FUTURE I CAN HELP MY MOM AND GIVE HER THAT DREAM CAR SHE ALWAYS WANTED.

I'M GOING TO GIVE IT TO HER.

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THANK YOU FOR WATCHING THIS SPECIAL EDITION OF 'METROFOCUS.'

REMEMBER, YOU CAN GET EVEN MORE GREAT CONTENT AT METROFOCUS.org AND PBS.org.

WE'LL SEE YOU NEXT TIME.

FUNDING FOR THIS PROGRAM WAS PROVIDED BY --

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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