Ramon Rodriguez is a pizza delivery man living and working in Brooklyn, New York. However he is not your average pizza man. Rodriguez is something of an over achiever. He was arrested Wednesday, after being charged with selling over $45,000 worth of cocaine to undercover police agents who were in the middle of a year long investigation. The man allegedly would distribute the drugs in the very same pizza boxes he was delivering.
CNN reported on this topic not too long ago, describing how Rodriguez unknowingly sold cocaine to undercover police officers at least 19 times. He was ultimately arrested after attempting to sell a kilo of cocaine, estimated to be worth $27,500, to undercover police officers outside the Papa Johns restaurant in Brooklyn where he works. Rodriguez has been going about his career as drug distributor for some time, all while under the guise of a mild mannered, pizza man.
New York Daily News reports that this kind of behavior has been going on for years. Rodriguez would regularly deliver cocaine stashed away in boxes of pizza, chicken nuggets, and buffalo wings. While selling cocaine seems to have been something of a career for this man it would appear that he was doing it, at least partly, to support his family. Sources reported that his daughter, Selina, stated: “He was taking care of his family. We know he did wrong, but he’s a good man.”
At this point, it would be pretty easy to make some jokes at the expense of this man. We could talk about how he was just being the best delivery guy possible… I can order drugs and pizza from the same place? how convenient!
We could do that. And yet, I really don’t want to. It leaves a bad taste in my mouth, much like the actual pizza from Papa Johns. The way I see this one is very simple. People will always do what is most necessary for their well being and the well being of their family. No sane individual can really expect to provide a comfortable standard of living when you are working for this guy.
You might be able to guess that I’m not a fan of the Papa. Let’s just say the man made some rather crude remarks to a woman I love very much. And this is the company after all that was all ready to start laying off workers rather than provide healthcare to employees. And while the papa is living in his 40,000 square foot mansion, people like Rodriguez are expected to thrive off of minimum wage and all the pizza he can steal.
Now, I’m not making a political statement about the severe socioeconomic gap that this country has grown accustomed to. If the papa wants to use his money to build himself a castle and fire employees so the cost of a pizza won’t rise 14 cents, then let him. But I also won’t blame Rodriguez for taking a chance at a better life for his family, even if it was technically illegal.
To me, this really raises some interesting ethical questions. Is it defensible to break the law if it means your family will live well? How can an employee actually feel any sort of loyalty to a CEO who would rather slash jobs than take a hit to his $600 million net worth? To me at least, I can see why Rodriguez would put himself on the line like this if it meant that his family wouldn’t have to rely on the income of a pizza delivery man.
It’s something to ponder really. When does the lowly worker bee have a right to fight back? When does a crime become a brave attempt to find a better life? I don’t have the answers, but it’s was worth a thought.