Metro Detroit Amazon driver abandons truck, packages and goes viral

Charles E. Ramirez
The Detroit News

A Warren man's tweet that he abandoned his Amazon job — and a van full of packages — at a Metro Detroit gas station has taken off on social media, with some fearing for their goods and others congratulating him for sticking it to the retail giant.

Derick Lancaster, who goes by @_lilderick on Twitter, tweeted at 2:50 p.m. Monday about quitting his job as a delivery driver for Amazon and abandoning the van he drove for the company at a gas station in Lathrup Village, with the keys in the ignition.

“I quit amazon f--- that driving s--- i left the van on 12 mile and Southfield y’all can have that b---- and it’s full of gas wit the keys in the IGNITION” he tweeted.

It has since gone viral with thousands of retweets and millions of interactions.

On Tuesday, the 22-year-old said after making deliveries for the giant online retailer, he quit because he had had enough.

“I was making 200-300 stops a day, and I just couldn’t do it anymore,” he said. “I was working from 9 in the morning to about 10 at night, and I couldn’t do it anymore.”

A representative for Amazon said the company is looking into the incident and did not confirm Lancaster's employment. 

Lancaster said he had been working for the company for five months and was based out of Amazon’s Hazel Park delivery station. After starting with a position in the warehouse, he switched to delivery. His route included stops in Royal Oak, Southfield and Troy.

The money for warehouse work was good, he added, but “you work for every penny when you're delivering.”

He explained warehouse workers have a set schedule and can go home when their shifts are over, but delivery drivers can’t knock off for the day until all of their packages have made it to their destinations.

He said he left the van after 2 p.m. Monday and summoned a rideshare car to pick him up and take him home.

This photo tweeted by Derick Lancaster appears to show the Amazon delivery truck he says he abandoned at a Marathon gas station at 12 Mile and Southfield roads.

Lancaster said he wasn’t too worried about Amazon’s customers being upset at not getting their orders or getting them late.

“They’re going to get them regardless,” he said.

And as far as he knows, he said, the van was returned to Amazon. “They have trackers on the trucks, so it’s not like someone could just take off with it.”

Both officials for the Southfield and Lathrup Village police departments said they had not received any reports of any Amazon delivery vans or trucks being stolen at the time Lancaster said he left his vehicle.

An employee at the gas station where the van was allegedly left said Tuesday said he had no idea if an Amazon vehicle had been abandoned there on Monday.

Lancaster did have plenty of supporters online. 

There have been numerous complaints from Amazon workers across the world claiming that the company treats employees like robots. There are also concerns over the company undercutting pricing, prompting merchants selling products on its marketplace to raise their prices on competing websites. 

Derick Lancaster in his Amazon truck

Locally, the retailer faced scrutiny over lack of protections during the COVID-19 pandemic at its Romulus facility. 

In April, workers at the site participated in a walkout, alleging the company did not protect their health and the safety or that of customers. The action followed others at Amazon locations on the East Coast and in Chicago.

Nationally, Amazon has provided masks and gloves as well as checked employees' temperatures, and the company has said it is developing an internal lab that could potentially provide coronavirus tests for all employees, even those without symptoms. the Associated Press reported. 

Lancaster tweeted about his frustration, he said, because when he wants to vent, he vents on social media.

“I didn’t think it would pop off the way it did,” Lancaster said. “I guess it touched a lot of people’s hearts who think Amazon overworks people.”

He also said he’s not afraid of any repercussions for resigning via social media. 

Lancaster said he doesn’t know what he’s going to do next. He said right now he’s taking it easy and will probably begin looking for another job soon.