Antonio Braswell and Felinzay Darnell Lundy were considered essential workers, delivering much needed packages as FedEx workers during a time when most people opt to order their goods by mail rather than risk standing in line or going to a store in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. The men could have never imagined that while doing their jobs they would be confronted by a perilous situation that would lead to them becoming one of the roughly 38 million unemployed Americans.
The men, who are both Black, went viral last week after posting a video, which has already received over seven million views. It shows a confrontation with them and an irate customer, who is white, in Leesburg, Georgia. Now, Braswell and Lundy say because of that post, they have both been fired by FedEx.
See the video below:
Lundy, 44, said moments before Braswell began recording, they delivered a package to the front porch of a home when the customer came out and began screaming for no reason. Lundy, who has worked for FedEx for nearly two years, said the customer called him a “Black son of a bitch” and repeatedly cursed at him.
He alleges the unidentified customer took his glasses off and threatened physical harm while screaming obscenities. Shortly after the threat, Braswell started recording the now viral video.
Considering the endless reports of unarmed Black people who have been killed by police and vigilantes, Lundy said he was in fear of his life.
“There was this sense of fear of what this man would do because [of] the rage that he had and everything that was going on. I kind of had a flashback with the young gentleman [Ahmaud Arbery] that was killed in the street in Brunswick,” Lundy explained in an interview with BET.com.
Lundy’s fear isn’t necessarily irrational. He is represented by famed civil rights attorney, Benjamin Crump who is also representing the families of Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor.
On February 23, Arbery was shot and killed while jogging on video in Brunswick, Georgia, which is approximately three hours outside of Leesburg. On March 13, Breonna Taylor was killed when police in Louisville, Kentucky barged into her home and shot her while she slept in bed.
“I was like, 'What is this man about to do?' He was so riled up and trying to get me riled up to attack him on his yard. I was absolutely in fear. I thought he was going to do something,” said Lundy.
Once the police arrived, Lundy believes he heard the customer say to one of the officers, “It’s those types of people that I fear that when I'm at work that they'll break in my house and harm my wife.”
RELATED: #BoycottFedEx Trends After Black Workers Are Fired For Filming White Customer’s Racist Threats
Lundy said one of the police officers, who happened to be Black, responded with “something to the effect of ‘How could you say something like that?’”
Additionally, there was a Terminix driver in the area. Lundy points out that the man, who is white, saw the incident and can vouch that neither he nor his partner, Braswell, did anything wrong.
“I take my job seriously and I know the risks,” Lundy said. “I know other companies, people were boycotting, not wanting to work because of this pandemic. But I love my job. I loved what I was doing. Being out in such a time like this, during this pandemic, putting my life on the line, working for a company that I respected -- but then to be let go, just at the drop of a dime over this altercation. I just felt so violated. I felt unappreciated. I felt dehumanized, just no regard for me and almost expendable.”
The area where Braswell and Lundy were working that day has been devastated by positive cases of COVID-19. In April 2020, Albany, Georgia, located about 15 minutes outside of Leesburg, was described by 11alive.com as “much more drastic than anywhere else in the state." It’s considered one of the hardest hit in Georgia where the lack of access to health care and health insurance for African Americans have made them more susceptible to the disease, according to the Washington Post.
In a statement issued by FedEx, the company flatly denies firing Braswell and Lundy. FedEx claims the men were actually employed by an independent service provider, which terminated them and is "no longer providing service.” FedeEx also stated that they have offered both Braswell and Lundy jobs.
Lundy says FedEx not firing them is untrue, revealing to BET.com that his supervisor first told him that he would just be suspend for two weeks, but ultimately his termination came from FedEx’s corporate headquarters in Washington. D.C. with the cause being that his “actions were not to our standards.”
“FedEx issued a statement saying that they had been terminated. Now they are trying to walk it back,” said Crump who also noted that the police have said that they’ve had “issues” with this customer in the past.
“It was not his local people who had an issue with him. It was corporate FedEx from where they are headquartered in Washington, DC, who said what they saw was not consistent with FedEx’s standards and they had to terminate them with no due process. It's almost as if they were disposable, essential workers of color, and they didn't really matter to FedEx.”
As for FedEx offering the two men employment, Crump believes this gesture was only made after their story went viral as a way to get in front of further outrage and squash the situation from blowing up any further after a #boycottfedex movement began trending on Twitter.
“The first time a white person makes a complaint about them, they are terminated without any due process or investigation? At this point, FedEx has to atone for how they treat essential workers of color out there doing a dangerous job further their business interests.”
Crump also has a message for the higher ups of the multinational delivery services company.
“To FedEx, we can tell how you act when people aren't looking and when people were not looking, you fired them, and you only offer their jobs back out when people called you on it. That is unacceptable.”
He revealed that the NAACP and the National Action Network are making an announcement requesting certain demands of FedEx that will be made public later in the week.
Lundy continues to stand in his truth and says he absolutely has no regrets about challenging the hostile customer.
“We as Black men and women, we stand on the shoulders of greatness. That dates back to the civil rights movement for people that died for these types of actions. If I would have drove away, I felt like I would have let all of my ancestors down, and so I stood as they stood.”
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