When an Instacart driver arrived at an elderly Minnesota couple’s home last week, they expected to open the door to groceries. Instead, they found their order strewn about the driveway and a note tucked in the Christmas wreath on their front door.
It denounced law enforcement as “police pigs” and told the couple to “find another slave.”
After reading the note, the couple looked toward the scattered groceries and realized the woman had run over them with her car.
Blaine Police Chief Brian Podany gave those details of the Dec. 6 incident at a news conference. Podany said the 36-year-old driver appears to have been upset by a sign in the couple’s front yard praising his officers. The sign read, “THANK YOU BLAINE P.D.,” the “o” replaced by a heart filled with the thin blue line flag. The flag is viewed a sign of support for law enforcement by some, while others see it as a rebuke of the Black Lives Matter movement.
“We’re in law enforcement; we get not everybody likes us,” Podany said, “and we understand that, but don’t take that out on innocent people out there, especially people who are trying to contribute to this person’s livelihood.”
On the night of Dec. 5, the couple used the online delivery app Instacart to purchase about $50 worth of groceries, Amber Gray wrote in an online post, in which she identifies herself as a younger relative of the unnamed couple.
The couple paid attention to Instacart’s online alerts as they were notified of the shopping run’s progress the next morning – one popped up when the delivery driver was at the store, another when she’d finished and a third when she was on her way, Gray wrote. When they got an alert saying the driver was in the neighborhood, the couple headed out to help her, afraid her car might get stuck in the snow.
Once outside, they saw the woman rocking the car back and forth in their driveway and, worried their fears about her getting stuck had come true, motioned for her to get out of the car and come to them, Podany said at the news conference. Instead, the police chief said, the driver yelled, telling them to check the Christmas wreath, where they then found the note written on the back of a receipt.
Podany read it aloud at his news conference: “It says ‘Instacart doesn’t pay employees. Find another slave, racist,’ and then ‘Eff the police pigs.'”
After the driver took off, the couple discovered the groceries scattered across their driveway. She hadn’t been stuck at all, Gray wrote in her post, but was running them over.
The Instacart driver “probably doesn’t know how carefully those $50 in groceries were budgeted for. Or how devastating the recent medical diagnosis has been. Or how scared and vulnerable her vile act of hatred made them feel,” Gray wrote.
“My heart breaks for my loved ones,” she added.
Although they are still investigating, Blaine police said they’ve identified the driver and could charge the woman with disorderly conduct and criminal damage to property.
“It’s unfortunate something like this would happen, particularly at this time of year,” Podany said. “You know, this is the holiday season, and we should be taking care of each other.”
Instacart told The Washington Post in an email that the company gave the couple a refund and will cooperate with police. “We’re appalled by the unacceptable actions of this shopper, who has been removed from the Instacart platform,” it said.
Gray started the GoFundMe campaign for her relatives late last week. In six days, she’s raised more than $11,000 for them to buy more groceries and pay for medical expenses, far exceeding her $500 goal.