BAYONNE, NJ – When Rodney Robinson saw an ad on Facebook looking for drivers in September 2020, the retired plumbing worker said the $ 19 an hour sounded like a good gig.
“This company served families who needed a ride for their children, especially during the pandemic,” Robinson told PIX11 News in late January. “They also delivered groceries and things like that.”
Robinson signed with Ride Along, which provided services to football teams and minor league hospitals, among other things.
Alissa Roost, a college professor in Manhattan, used the service to take her 3-year-old son to a day care center downtown. She liked having Rodney as the same driver every day.
But she said the company’s co-founder, Norbert Sygdziak, kept changing the weekly rate.
“It was originally $ 170,” said Roost. “After three weeks, he raised the price to $ 350 per week and then lowered it to $ 270 per week.”
Robinson said he started work in early September 2020 but didn’t receive his first paycheck until October 12. He received more than $ 1,400 with an ADP stub listing the prints. He expected to be paid every two weeks.
Read more investigative reports from Mary Murphy at PIX11 News
When he didn’t get a paycheck by October 26th, he was frustrated. Robinson said he had started texting the owner: “Norbert, why don’t you text me or communicate with me?”
The owner wrote back, “Rodney, I’m sorry to be a man who does 185 things.”
Robinson received a direct deposit into his account for more than $ 1,100 on October 29, 2020, but said his salary then dried up.
“I didn’t receive a check in November. I didn’t get a check in December, ”said Robinson.
He stopped working before January 1st.
Another former driver, Brian Comeau, said he was recovering from a stroke and wanted a job when he signed up for Ride Along in the summer of 2020.
“I got a disability release because I wanted to work and then he started not paying me,” said Comeau.
PIX11 News learned that the company was based in a townhouse in Bayonne, New Jersey.
When we went there and called the intercom, a woman’s voice said, “We’re working from home right now.”
Pity! More investigative coverage from Arnold Diaz of PIX11 News
Norbert Sygdziak called us back quickly after we left a message on his cell phone
We later interviewed him on the phone when we met with ex-driver Brian Comeau in Brooklyn.
“We are a registered company,” said Sygdziak. “We have logs for people who leave the company to submit their time.”
Comeau claimed he owed more than $ 6,000 in salary, but Ride Along emailed him informing Comeau that this was incorrect.
“We looked into this matter and found that your calculation was wrong,” the email said. “Your last paycheck will be $ 3,574.32.”
The email concludes: “According to your request, a letter is finally attached stating that you will be leaving the company in November 2020.”
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