Sometimes embarrassing moments go viral but somehow, in the end, benefit everyone involved.
Last week, Melbourne, Australia resident Mark Polchleb posted a TikTok where a misunderstanding leads his DoorDash driver to believe he was being shouted at.
“Can someone please tell this sweet sweet Uber Eats man I was yelling at my dog and not him,” Polchleb captions the opening of his TikTok, which has over 34.5 million views as of this writing.
In the video that starts the saga, we see Polchleb clearly upset and cuddling up to a pillow. The video cuts to a food delivery driver waiting to hand over the night’s order on Polchleb’s porch. You can hear one or more dogs barking, and off-screen behind the door, you hear Polchleb sternly deliver an edict.
“Get away from the door mate!” Polchleb exclaims as he opens the door. This led the deliveryman, whose name is Sami, to inch away from the bag of McDonald’s he set on the doormat and away from the porch, as if the terse directive was shouted at him. But, according to Polchleb, who realized his faux pas after taking a look at his security camera footage, that wasn’t the case at all.
“I didn’t realize until I reviewed the footage that he could have misunderstood me yelling at my dog,” Polchleb told TODAY Food in a direct message, adding that when he saw his delivery person in the video reacting that way, his heart sank. “It was too late to explain. I couldn’t bear the thought of someone thinking I disrespected them for just doing their job!”
TikTok commenters were taken with how polite Sami was, even when he thought he was being brusquely shouted at.
“He was trying to tell you he had to take a picture because he didn’t physically hand it to you,” wrote one user.
"I WOULD BE IN TEARS FOR WEEKS IF I DID THIS OMG CAN YOU FIND HIM ON YOUR APP SOMEHOW," wrote another person.
“I WOULD LOSE SLEEP FOR DAYSSSSSS,” reads another comment, one of the 28,000-plus comments this one video received. And yes, many of them were in all-caps, mortified for everyone involved.
Other less enterprising souls may have just added the realization that they were accidentally rude to someone to their personal embarrassing memory bank and revisit the flub forever and ever, but Polcheib took action to apologize.
“I’ve genuinely lost sleep over this,” Polcheib said in a follow-up TikTok.
In subsequent TikToks, Polcheib does his darndest to find Sami to apologize and maybe give him something extra for his service. Part of Polcheib’s journey was realizing that it was not actually Uber Eats that his husband made the initial order through but instead DoorDash, which Polcheib admits in his second TikTok.
Unfortunately, Polcheib finds out from DoorDash that after a day, users are unable to contact their dasher through the app, so no dice in reaching Sami that way. Luckily for Polcheib and the literal millions of people invested in this tale, not all was lost.
“It turns out, with the amazing thing that is TikTok, it took only two days to track him down,” Polcheib said, crediting the virality and interest in the story for getting him in contact with the subject of his search. “His daughter stumbled across my original TikTok after around 7 million views, and I was able to connect with her, and then her dad.”
After finally making contact, Polcheib arranged to meet Sami in person, to apologize and give him a token of his appreciation.
“This afternoon I got to head out and meet with my DoorDasher Sami to say thank you in person and make sure he was happy,” Polcheib said in a clip of the journey he shared, him and Sami’s meeting complete with smiles and a hug. “It was great to meet him and his family who were so, so proud of him working to raise money to see his son overseas.”
This would have been a happy ending in itself, but there’s an even happier epilogue to a story of down-to-earth kindness.
After seeing Polcheib’s efforts to find Sami and make things right, DoorDash wanted to recognize Sami’s admirable and polite behavior in the initial interaction, deciding to tell Polcheib and Sami a bit of good news.
“️We’re so inspired by your love and kindness for Sami that we’re going to award him Top Dasher status for life and extra Dasher pay,” DoorDash commented on the delivery faux pas epic’s fourth update.
After Sami’s employer gave him the promotion of sorts, there was more joy to be had. A GoFundMe was set up for Sami by his daughter, Mary, so that he could visit his son in France, and the publicity over this whole ordeal has raised over $6,000 Australian dollars (roughly $4,000 U.S. dollars).
"I came to Australia 8 years ago as refugee and I haven’t seen my son for 10 years," reads the GoFundMe description. "He lives in France, and I have to do some work to book for a (plane) ticket to see him."
For those wondering if Polcheib and Sami are planning on staying in contact, Polcheib said Sami's family was really appreciative of his efforts: “They have promised to keep in touch, which is great!”