Picture this. A FedEx driver brings a package to your door. You’re in a morose state of mind because a loved one is seriously ill. The driver, making smalltalk (“How was your Christmas holiday?,” etc.), finds out about this and expresses her sympathy. Cool, right?
But unexpectedly, within an hour, she’s back, rings your doorbell, and offers to pray with you.
Sorry, but what the hell?
Wait, it gets worse.
Wearing her FedEx uniform, she then makes a tearful, self-congratulatory video about what a wonderfully committed Christian she is. In it, she encourages other people — including workers who are on the clock — to go out and ask possibly downtrodden or depressed customers to pray to Jesus.
Yet this is exactly what Amanda Riggan did, and she’s being fêted for it like a goddamn saint.
Via FOX News:
A FedEx employee in South Carolina with a big heart went viral after she posted a video about being prompted by God to help another person on her route in York County.
Amanda Riggan, a full-time driver with FedEx and founder of “Hungry Heroes,” a non-profit that feeds first responders and veterans, was making her regular rounds last Thursday when she met a woman who tearfully shared with her that her husband had cancer. …
“I drove off, my heart’s pounding. I do probably 20 more stops, and I have to go back,” Riggan shared in a video on Facebook after pulling to the side of the road.
Because God told her to.
“I stopped what I was doing. I went back to that neighborhood. I rang her doorbell… and when she came down the stairs she had tears in eyes. When she saw it was me, she smiled.” Riggan prayed with her as she broke down in tears. …
Riggan used the heartfelt moment as a chance to share about following God. “I pray every day for the Lord to use me,” Riggan said through tears. “When you feel those tugs on your heartstrings, and you feel like you need to do this, stop and do it.”
Seriously? I’d be livid AF that a Christer saw my vulnerability and my private grief as an opportunity to hit me over the head with her beliefs; and I’d be just as furious if she then exploited my personal story for the glory of her faith.
Sure, given the demographics of the United States, and South Carolina in particular, there was a very good chance that the FedEx customer was a fellow Christian, but Riggan had no way of knowing. And even if she did, she’d still have no business mixing religion with work — on company time.
Oh, and without a doubt, many of the same people congratulating Riggan on her piety would be royally pissed if her first name was Fatima or Samirah and she had offered to say an Islamic prayer with her customer.
To be fair, Riggan sounds sincere and well-intentioned. I’m not hatin’ on her so much as on the mindless evangelical culture she represents.
In any case, there are ways to show a stranger genuine kindness that don’t involve the passive-aggressive tactic of proposing to pray together. We know that intercessory prayer accomplishes nothing of practical value anyway. If the goal was mainly to offer empathy, Riggan could’ve brought the gloomy customer a handwritten card the next day, or some homemade lasagna, or a book about coping with grief; or she could’ve obtained the customer’s permission to start a GoFundMe campaign if medical bills happen to be piling up.
I haven’t seen an official FedEx response to Riggan’s video. The company is likely caught between a rock and a hard place. Their God-loving employee is a hero to millions despite the dereliction of duty inherent in her doubling back on her route — something that made her late getting packages to waiting customers. Just as importantly, she made the video dressed in FedEx garb, sitting in a FedEx truck, on FedEx time. In a sane society that isn’t awash in Christian privilege, that deserves a warning and a writeup at a minimum.
In the reality that is the United States, however, where Jesus worshipers still form a majority, the company is probably going to turn a blind eye to Riggan’s shenanigans so as not to create a public-relations debacle. One of the consequences of this reticence is that it will embolden other religionists to pull the same unsolicited horseshit — and you know they’ll Facebook and Snapchat the hell out of it, reaping Christian karma all the way.
If Riggan were my employee, I’d tell her that FedEx trucks are not church vans. Then I’d probably fire her and weather the storm; just as I’d likely fire a hypothetical worker who used company time and resources to bring unsuspecting customers the good news about Richard Dawkins and the wonders of atheism.