For all the talk of how dangerous it is to be a police officer in the United States, the risks of pizza delivery go understated. Because they are unarmed, alone, and carrying cash, delivery drivers represent easy crimes of opportunity. One Papa John’s driver in Decatur, Georgia found that out the hard way on Sunday, when she was attacked by 24-year-old Donquaz Stevenson.
But the driver, whose name has not been publicly released, had a surprise for her robber. When Stevenson forced her to the ground at gunpoint, she retaliated with a gun of her own. According to authorities, the woman shot Stevenson in the face while his accomplice jacked her Honda Accord and made a break for it. Police believe the delivery may have been a planned robbery from the get-go.
While the driver was grateful that she was still alive following the harrowing incident, her mother told local reporters that she was scared of losing her job. Papa John’s employees are not allowed to carry firearms at work. But when the story hit the media, thousands of gun-rights activists flooded the restaurant’s social media outlets with support for the young woman.
That support appears to have paid off. It was announced Thursday that she would be allowed to keep her job, though she would be transferred inside the store while she recovers from the incident. A spokesman for the store said, “Upon investigation and considering the specific facts of the situation, we have reassigned the employee to work in the store and are offering her counseling to help her recuperate from the incident.”
Papa John’s insisted that employee safety was their top priority, though they do not plan to change their rules regarding employees carrying guns on the job.
That’s to be expected; a national company isn’t going to reverse such a common policy in the span of a week, especially considering the controversy such a move would bring. However, it’s time for organizations that routinely put their employees in harm’s way to reevaluate the restrictions they put on said employees. This particular driver knew she couldn’t rely on Papa John’s to save her life if a worst-case-scenario unfolded, so she took it upon herself to flaunt the rules. Good for her.
But on a wider scope, pizza delivery chains and other companies that put their employees in dangerous situations need to consider the implications of firearm restrictions. Americans have the right to protect themselves against dangerous attackers. When businesses limit that right, they bear responsibility when their employees are killed as a result.
If thugs like Stevenson knew there was a good chance their pizza delivery driver was armed, a robbery like this would no longer look like such an obvious opportunity.