Signed, sealed, delivered: Pulp gets in the passenger seat with student delivery driver working night shift
Editor’s note: ‘Night in the Life’ is an occasional series chronicling the responsibilities of the newsmakers, characters and public figures on campus.
For Andrew Sagarin, who has been delivering food on campus for about a year and a half, Friday nights are predictable.
The phone in the kitchen rings, and Sagarin turns around. Grabbing an order form and a blue Papermate pen, the junior sports management major pulls the phone up off the counter and begins to check items off the form. Campus Delivery solely operates over the phone. Both the employees working near the phone and the drivers balance taking orders and assembling the deliveries.
Now Sagarin swivels around to the counter behind him, peeling a plastic delivery bag off a stack and a black marker. Looking at the form he just filled in, he crosses off lines on the sheet and carefully copies the order number on both sides of the bag. The order is going to Lyons Hall. It’s a standard delivery for the night.
Because Campus Delivery is based out of Goldstein Dining Center, the majority of orders come from South Campus. Sagarin says the split is about seven deliveries there for every three deliveries to Main Campus. The bulk of Main Campus orders, surprisingly, go to Centennial Hall, which is housing for State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry students. There is the occasional order to E.S. Bird Library during someone’s late-night study session, or last year, to the Sheraton University Hotel andConferenceCenterwhile students were housed there.
The amount of orders that gets called in varies depending on a number of conditions. If it is raining or snowing outside, for example, the number of orders spikes. More students order food while watching away Syracuse football or basketball games. And while the delivery service is offered from 4:30 p.m. to 1 a.m., deliveries peak from 11 p.m. to close while campus nightlife is buzzing. Sagarin, however, is only working until 10 p.m.
It’s about 9:50 p.m. and it’s his last delivery of the evening. Pushing through a back door, Sagarin unlocks his car, leaving a clipboard with the order forms and two bags of wings and sodas in the back seat. He turns on the ignition in the front, and he’s off.
Sagarin says he learns a lot of shortcuts for the delivery routes. Sometimes, he’ll cut through parking lots to beat stoplights, or speed into a different lane to re-enter South Campus. He runs his deliveries from the car to the door, too, to cut down on delivery time. Though Campus Delivery doesn’t accept tips, he receives extra pay per delivery he makes. Usually, he’ll take two to four deliveries out at a time, or five to six on a busy night.
Now he’s in front of Lyons Hall while the streets are still quiet, pulling out his cellphone and dialing the phone number listed on the first order form. He had called a few minutes earlier to let the student know he would be pulling up with the food, but now Sagarin has to wait for him to arrive at the door. But soon the student appears, signing for the food wordlessly and disappearing with his bag.
Making it back to Goldstein a little after 10 p.m., Sagarin has finished his four-and-a-half-hour shift. The next two delivery drivers are already there. Sagarin pulls off his Food Services hat and heads out for the night.
Coby Loury, a sophomore child and family studies major, is standing aimlessly by the phone. Nobody is exactly sure why, but it’s a slow night.
This is his first semester on the job and he loves it. He says delivering gives him a lot of freedom — except now, while he waits in the kitchen. He occupies himself by wiping down counters, putting away dishes and talking to others in the room.
The first call since Andrew’s departure comes in at 10:38 p.m. It is fairly unusual. Loury only has to head to an apartment on Winding Ridge, but the order is for a pizza, which takes longer to make than an order for a sandwich or chicken wings.
At 10:55 p.m., a second order rings in and the other driver handles it. Kimberly Williams, a junior environmental design major, picks up the bag with a meatball sub sandwich and a pint of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and walks out.
Finally, the pizza is ready, and Loury brings it to his red Chevy HHR. Hopping in the car, he drives around Winding Ridge, and the night is getting progressively louder. He stops outside an apartment block that faces a bus stop, where about forty students are jostling and laughing. Girls dressed in red miniskirts and feathered brassieres are stumbling in their heels to the apartment. One almost falls on the car and catches herself at the last moment.
Suddenly, a guy at the bus stop recognizes the delivery driver.
“Coby!” he yells. He and about five of his male friends are running at Loury, laughing and shouting. Some are still holding full red solo cups, sloshing and spilling across the street. The group spots the camera and they charge Loury, clustering around him, grabbing his shoulders as he balances the pizza in front of it. Girls are now running into the group. There’s a flash, and then the whistle of the approaching bus sends them scattering back across the street to the stop. Loury, visibly frightened, now relaxes.
The girl at the door of the apartment looks at the order form.
“Where do I sign?” she asks, balancing a pen between two of her fingers and a burnt cigarette in the others.
Back at Goldstein, the employees are waiting for the orders to pick up at midnight. They’re mainly students and know how their friends like to order food after coming home at night. But the orders have stalled. Loury takes a pizza to Centennial, cutting around a circle of 20 students playing a game called Ninja in front of the building at 12:30 a.m., and delivers the pie to a barefoot, bleary-eyed boy and his equally barefoot and bleary-eyed friend. One call comes in just before 1 a.m., and Loury has to bring another delivery to Winding Ridge. This student is disheveled and giggling for his ice cream, signing and shutting the door quickly.
Loury returns to Goldstein at about 1:20 a.m., the night over. Driving and delivering food on weekend nights, he says, has the best scenery. He is puzzled by the relatively quiet evening, but satisfied nonetheless.
Contact Gabriela: email@example.com
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