Austin business owner fears for her safety after Favor driver becomes accused stalker
An Austin business owner said she order from a delivery app one time and the driver who dropped off the food stalked her for weeks.
Alexandro Correa, 37, was arrested near the East Austin gym over the weekend and charged with stalking, a third-degree felony.
"My order came and also a stalker came with it and someone who wanted to kill me," said Jami Lynne Mendoza.
She said she has poured months of work into opening her gym. In December, she wanted to order a burger for one of the people helping her furnish her new space, so she took to the Favor app.
When Correa showed up, Mendoza said he was apologetic for being late but was interested in knowing more about the artwork she had throughout her gym.
In the days and weeks ahead, Mendoza said Correa kept showing back up at her gym. “He just got really aggressive with his behaviors, always seeing if I’m here working, trying to contact me, barging into my classes,” said Mendoza.
On December 12th, Correa showed up unannounced to Mendoza’s class while she was teaching. She said he stopped up the stairs and sat in the back of the class and started belligerently asking unrelated questions.
Mendoza said he would also leave odd gifts for her like old magazines and a soccer ball. “He walked up to my desk, slammed a game of checkers that was in a leather pouch and said, ‘we’ll be in touch’ and I knew I had to get a restraining order on this guy,” she said.
In early January, Correa was given a verbal cease and desist with Mendoza and was told by police not to make social media posts that might have her concerned for her safety. According to court documents, some of what Correa wrote on social media alluded to death and suicide. One morning, Mendoza was walking into teach a class and she found an arrangement of flowers and an empty case that looked like it was for a funeral.
Mendoza said there would be times she would be advised by police to not come to work because they couldn’t constantly monitor her business. “Now (Correa) thinks in his mind that if he can’t have me, no one’s going to have me,” she said.
Over the weekend, Correa was spotted by police riding his bike near Mendoza’s gym. Mendoza said he was chased down by a monitoring officer and arrested. He’s now being held in the Travis County Jail on bail set at $500,000.
Favor said delivery drivers, or runners, operate as independent contractors and are not employees of Favor:
“This individual is no longer a Favor runner, and we took immediate action to block his access to our platform when we became aware of his actions last year. We take the safety of the community very seriously and have been assisting law enforcement as much as possible.”
Chris Humphreys with the Anfield Group said users can better protect themselves by not giving their full name or changing their picture on delivery and ride share app to something that isn't their face. But he said giving your information is the price you pay for convenience. "If you're paying for a service, that service provider has some obligation to the consumer to make sure they're safe," said Humphreys. "I just want people to be cognizant of the risks that most people don't even consider until it's too late."
Mendoza said she’s weighing her legal options with her situation.