US delivery driver who refused to hand over food without a tip sparks heated online debate on delivery etiquette

A delivery driver who allegedly refused to hand over a customer's meal unless they were tipped has sparked a contentious debate on social media regarding driver-diner etiquette. 

The demanding driver reportedly works for DoorDash, an American online ordering and food delivery service similar to UberEats. 

In a video posted to TikTok earlier this week, Jordan Gray - who goes by the username @dabimethazine - shared a screenshot appearing to show a message from the driver, dated February 12. 

"No tip, no food," the driver allegedly messaged her.

"Excuse me?" Gray responded.

In the short clip, Gray includes a recording of her stunned reaction to the message.

"This is why I always tip after because WTF," she captioned the clip, which has since amassed more than 161,000 views on the video-sharing platform. 

Speaking to the Daily Dot, Gray admitted she has a personal policy when it comes to tipping, explaining that she now always tips after she receives her food rather than beforehand due to bad experiences with past deliveries. 

"I always make it a point to tip my drivers but due to past experiences, I now tip after," she told the outlet. 

"I've been called a bitch before, people have yelled at me on the phone - so that's why I started tipping with cash or Cash App after I receive my food."

Gray said the driver had still accepted the job knowing a tip hadn't been added when the order was placed.

The clip erupted into a divisive debate regarding driver-diner-delivery etiquette. Many agreed with Gray's tipping policy, noting there is little point tipping before the service has been carried out.

"Deciding the tip before the service is performed is so backwards," one said.

"Every time I've tipped before getting my food something always goes wrong," Gray responded.

"DoorDash needs to put the tips after because there's been so many times where I've tipped [well] and their service has been horrible and I wish I didn't," another agreed.

"It makes sense to tip afterwards, like you don't tip servers before you get your food at a restaurant," one noted, with another agreeing: "The whole point of tipping is to base it on the quality of their service. Tipping before doesn't make any sense."

Others questioned why the delivery driver had accepted Gray's order in the first place - knowing a tip hadn't been included.

"Y'all better not defend this at all. That lady knew she wasn't getting a tip before she accepted the order so she did all that out of spite," one said.

"Why would you accept an order with no tip," a second wrote, with another adding: "It's their fault for claiming the order. They knew there wouldn't be a tip before they claimed it."

"I always add a tip beforehand so my order is more likely to be delivered but if something goes wrong I'll remove it or boost it if I'm satisfied," another suggested, while one advised: "You can change the tip after the food is delivered if the service isn't good, so I always start with a base tip and adjust based on the service."

But some criticised Gray's tipping conduct, noting that tipping beforehand as expected avoids any nasty exchanges. 

"This isn't evidence for tipping after, it's just ANOTHER reason you tip delivery drivers first. Why are you acting like this," one said.

A delivery driver pointed out that she never accepts orders without a tip: "I never pick up orders that have no tip. How are we supposed to know y'all are gonna tip? Most of the time the tip remains $0 afterward."

"I'm on the driver's side," another added.

Others wanted to know the full story. In a comment, Gray clarified that she contacted DoorDash's customer service and a different driver was dispatched - who she did tip, as he was "very nice".

"I posted it because it was a funny moment. I didn't know it would turn into an actual discourse," she told the Daily Dot.

A spokesperson for DoorDash confirmed to the Daily Dot that they are looking into the incident.

According to a guide by Australia's flag carrier and largest airline Qantas, tipping is legally optional in America, but is widely expected and accepted as basic etiquette. A gratuity of 15 to 20 percent on top of the bill (before sales tax) is standard, with at least 25 percent for top-notch service. If the service is terrible, leaving just 10 percent is a clear indication that the experience was not up to par. If a customer really doesn't think their waitperson deserves a tip, the airline advises explaining the reasons behind that decision to the restaurant manager.

Tipping is not customary or expected in New Zealand.