Near mealtimes, Newton’s Stephen Tuliszewski can be found near the North Dillons, sitting in his car with the engine idling and the radio on. His music isn’t blasting, it’s just there to keep him company as he waits.
When his phone lights up with a text, he’ll put the car in gear and begin his dash.
Tuliszewski is one of at least two DoorDash drivers in Newton — an online restaurant ordering and delivery service that launched in Newton about two weeks ago.
"I have discovered that for Newton, McDonalds and Kiko’s are really good spots where a lot of people order," Tuliszewski said. "That’s why I hang out here. I get an order, go pick it up, deliver, and come back and sit."
He has read social media from potential users who have placed orders at www.doordash.com, but the order did not make it through to the restaurant. It’s a problem he knows about, but cannot deal with. He stresses that the service is new to Newton, and it will take time to get those kinds of bugs worked out.
Meanwhile, he waits in a parking lot writing for his smartphone app to give him orders.
"Everything comes to me from the company," Tuliszewski said. "I have heard that there are people who have made orders and no one has showed up to get their order. I don’t know how many Dashers there are in Newton. If there are only two of us, that is a lot of people in town to get too. ... Be patient. Everything that is new has some quirks. We are trying to get to you guys and get businesses to sign up."
As expected, some days are busier than others — and lunch and dinnertime are busier as well.
The company advertises that drivers can make $15 an hour. Tuliszewski did not say how much he earns, and he’s not overly concerned about the money made.
"This is a side hustle," Tuliszewski said. "I can’t just sit at home ... . It is an easy job. I have been doing construction for 40-plus years and my body is getting old," Tuliszewski said. "And, right now there is really no on-demand delivery system in Newton. I found out DoorDash was just starting up in Newton, and decided to do it."
And, it was considered an essential service during lockdowns and shutdowns. During that time, on-demand delivery services became very busy.
Tuliszewski said things are slower than that now, but there is still a demand.
"There are still people out there and afraid and would rather have someone come pick it up than go out," Tuliszewski said.