Uber Delivery Workers in Mexico Are Tracking Thieves Through Google Maps and WhatsApp Networks

A 1,000-person WhatsApp community keeps delivery workers safe

Martha Pskowski


Illustration: Glenn Harvey

OnOn a recent Tuesday night, Luisa Amezquita, a Rappi company delivery worker, was headed home after her last drop-off of the evening when her motorcycle broke down. She was miles from home, and nervous. So she reached out for the only help she could think of.

“Is anyone awake? I’ve been trying to get home since 10 p.m. and still I haven’t made it,” she texted to a WhatsApp group of women food delivery workers in Mexico City. Stephanie Rojas, who manages the WhatsApp group, started making phone calls.

Rojas contacted Saúl Gómez of the collective Ni un repartidor menos (Not one more delivery worker killed), who sent out alerts to other WhatsApp groups of cyclists and motorcyclists around the city to look for Luisa. Shortly after sending her S.O.S., Luisa had gone silent — she wasn’t picking up calls or answering messages. Ni un repartidor menos’ members, who deliver for Uber Eats, Rappi, DiDi, and Sin Delantal, started looking for a woman pushing a motorcycle.

Finally, around 9 a.m., she came back online. Her phone had died just after sending her distress message, but she had made it home safe.