In the wake of the murder of 7-year-old Athena Strand, allegedly by a Fed Ex contractor who police claim confessed to accidentally hitting Athena with his van while on his delivery route, a vacuum of trust has resulted for delivery and truck drivers, now considered guilty by association.
Drivers say they are being verbally attacked and met with fearful reactions while on their daily delivery routes.
“We’ve had drivers who have been called murderers over Ring cameras,” Tamra Steffens, who works for Team AIO Logistics, a contractor for a major package delivery company, told WFAA.
“Children have run away from us in fear. They’re all scared. They’re very scared. The drivers even from all over have been saying you know that kids have come up to them and said, ‘Why did you do this?’ or, ‘We can’t trust you anymore,'” said Steffens.
“It started out everybody was being pretty harsh on us,” said Team AIO delivery driver Ashley Creed.
In response to this unjust reaction to a horrible crime, Creed created a TikTok video that spawned a campaign called “your babies are safe on my route.”
The trend, which is set to music, features drivers from UPS, Fed Ex, Amazon, and more sharing their own grief. In the videos, the drivers pledge to be vigilant to keep anything like Athena’s murder from happening again.
These videos and messages have now gone viral, shared on social media over and over again. The goal is that these messages will change negative opinions and that not all delivery drivers will be judged by the criminal actions of one person.
“That was the important thing was please don’t stigmatize all drivers because it would not be fair to them for this one senseless tragic act,” said Alex Childress, owner of Team AIO Logistics.
“That the world can see we stand together with the community against this act of violence,” said Steffens. “That just because we’re delivery drivers doesn’t mean that we’re the same. We feel the parents. We feel the community’s cries. We understand why they’re upset. And hopefully, it brings a different light to the world to know that we’re different and we can fix this one delivery at a time.”