Seattle native goes viral in plea to tip delivery drivers, gets $50,000 in donations to avoid homelessness

A tearful plea to the public from a Seattle native regarding tipping your delivery drivers went viral and lead to an enormous outpouring of support. 

Riley Elliott moved to Las Vegas over the summer to escape the high cost of rent in Seattle. He had been homeless twice and was struggling to make ends meet as an UBER Eats delivery driver during the pandemic.

After his fiancée was laid off from their job, Elliot decided to start running delivery for UBER again in Las Vegas.

Last Tuesday, he said he reluctantly accepted a $5 food delivery to a business, hoping the tip would make it worthwhile. He said it took him 45 minutes to complete the order, cost him $3 in parking fees, and was incredibly frustrated after receiving a tip in the amount of $1.50. 

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"When I accepted the order, it had been after an hour of declining low ball offers and spending an hour not doing anything is actually costing me money, so out of sheer frustration, I accepted it. Then to go through the whole thing and losing money on it because I had to pay for parking and the tip didn’t cover parking. What Uber paid me didn’t cover gas and time and all that," said Elliot. 

He posted an emotional video to Tik Tok about his experience and how he feared he’d end up homeless again. 

That video caught the attention of the Seattle Sounders, who made a generous donation. Elliot was wearing a Sounders shirt in the video. 

"They sent a $500 donation to my Venmo, I believe, and from there it caught in with Sounders fans and from there it started this awesome camaraderie," said Elliot. 

Before he knew it, Elliot’s video had 3.7 million views on Twitter. He said he received more than $50,000 in donations, $15,000 of which he donated to other people in need. 

Now he has started a Gofundme page for other struggling delivery drivers like himself. Elliot also said he plans to meet with advocacy groups fighting for better wages for gig workers. 

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