Pizza delivery drivers across the nation have been defending themselves with their legally carried firearms for years, but two recent cases are getting some national attention.
In Hollywood, Fla., a delivery driver for the pizza chain Domino’s shot at two armed robbers who attacked him in his vehicle outside the store. Days later, another Domino’s driver shot an armed robber in Albuquerque, N.M. Thankfully, both drivers are okay. But are they still employed?
Virtually all of the big pizza companies have the same policy: If you’re working for them—whether in the store or as a driver—you are not allowed to be armed. To be sure, this is a company policy, not a law. If the police determine that a driver or a manager used a firearm in self-defense, they’re not going to be facing charges for carrying in violation of the company’s regulations. As a result, some drivers do have their concealed-carry licenses and carry while on the job. Their attitude is simple: “My job, and your Supremely Large Cheesy Crust pepperoni pizza with a side of Cinnamon Dusted Sea Salt Caramel Brownie Batter Poppers, isn’t worth my life.” They would rather be fired than dead, so many of them choose to violate Big Pizza’s anti-carry policies.
One of the first Armed Citizen stories involving a delivery driver that I remember covering was the heart-wrenching 2008 story of James Spiers, who was fired by Pizza Hut after he shot a man who was trying to rob him in the breezeway of an apartment complex. Spiers was a single father who was just trying to make ends meet and get home to his daughter at the end of his shift. None of that mattered, of course, to his employer. Rules are rules.
More recently, though, some companies seem to be looking for ways around their formal policy. Responding to the Hollywood, Fla., incident, Domino’s corporate spokesman Tim McIntyre told the Daily Caller, “Every situation is different, and it’s far too early to make a determination like that [termination of employment]. We’ve offered him counseling should he need it after such a traumatic experience.”
After the self-defense shooting in Albuquerque, I reached out to McIntyre to find out if the company was planning any disciplinary action. I was told, “The independent franchise owner is taking no action against his driver in New Mexico.”
It’s not just Domino’s, either. In January, a Papa John’s delivery driver in Georgia kept her job after using her legally owned gun in self-defense during an armed robbery, though she now works inside the store instead of going on deliveries.
These are all positive developments, but perhaps it’s time to actually change Big Pizza’s written policy of disarming drivers and formally replace it with what appears to be the unwritten policy: “If you’re going to carry a firearm, obey all applicable laws. If you break the law, or engage in reckless behavior, you’ll be fired.” I’m sure the corporate lawyers will scream and holler, but wouldn’t it be better to have a policy in place that reflected the reality in the companies’ stores across the country?