A young Woolworths worker who hated his job sent a late-night message to a co-worker saying he was struggling to hold on – just minutes before his death.
Zachary Hendricks’ life ended when his car hit a tree on the Bruce Highway in Midgee, 10km south of Rockhampton on Queensland’s mid-north coast, at about 4.45am on September 22.
The 21-year-old worked in the online orders department, but said the role was a ‘nightmare even Freddy Krueger wouldn’t want’ in a heartbreaking note left for his mother Dhanni.
On Sunday, the mother-of-three revealed her son texted a colleague at 4.20am on the night of the crash.
Zachary Hendricks (pictured) tragically took his own life on September 22 near Rockhampton in Queensland
Pictured: Zachary Hendricks’ final text message to a friend, sent 25 minutes before he died
‘I’m sorry for having to make this decision, but I’m finding it very hard to hold on at this point,’ Zachary wrote.
‘I sent out letters but I ran out of envelopes.’
The young man also explained he’d already left a note for his team at work, ‘so no need to tell them,’ he added.
A Woolworths spokesman told Daily Mail Australia: ‘As soon as we became aware of concerns regarding Zach’s safety on the morning of September 22, we moved quickly to alert local police and his family.’
‘We’re assisting the police and coroner with their inquiries, and reviewing the circumstances surrounding Zach’s employment with us.’
He also said the company is ‘devastated by Zach’s tragic passing’.
Pictured: Zachary Hendricks in his Woolworths uniform. He worked there for 18 months before he took his own life
Zachary Hendricks’ mum Dhanni said her son was thrust into a management position without training
Zachary started working at Woolworths about 18 months ago on a casual basis, but he was soon put on a full time contract – working 38 hours per week.
‘It was 38 hours too much,’ Dhanni told Daily Mail Australia.
She said he was thrust into a management position with no training week and a half before he died, but tragically decided to take his own life after little more than a week in the new role.
‘We know that he had only made the decision go take his own life just three days beforehand,’ his mother wrote in a gut-wrenching Facebook post.
‘There wasn’t a lot of planning at all. It was in fact very sudden.’
Zachary Hendricks (pictured) spent six years in the RAAF Cadet Corps, which his mother said was his ‘whole world’
She said close family members knew about a year ago that the job was stressful, but they didn’t know how bad it was – ‘the new position was a whole other level,’ she added.
The family only found out how much Zachary’s work was having an impact on his mental health until they found the notes after the crash.
‘He wrote quite a few letters and they were all about the work,’ she said.
Zachary said his job was ‘a nightmare not even Freddy Krueger would want’,’ according to his mother.
The line referenced Nightmare On Elm Street – a 1980s horror film featuring serial killer Freddy Krueger, who killed his victims in their dreams.
Dhanni said her son’s complaint about bullying and the workload to HR ‘went nowhere’.
A Woolworths spokesman said the company is devastated by Zachary’s passing, and offered support to his colleagues
The Woolworths spokesman said: ‘Woolworths is currently unaware of any workplace complaints being made by Zach.’
When asked about impact Zachary’s death has had on her family, she said it was ‘indescribable’.
In a Facebook group dedicated to her son, Dhanni said the supermarket chain was ‘worse than Covid’ and accused Woolworths of ‘corporate manslaughter’.
‘They drove him to the edge and pushed him to take his own life after dismantling and crushing his mental health. I have the letters to prove it,’ she wrote.
She also coined the hashtag #YWLM – Young Woolworths Lives Matter.
Dhanni made a memorial page for Zachary (pictured), and says his death has been indescribable
Thousands of people flocked to the page to pay their respects, and to share their stories working for large corporations.
‘I worked for the Woolworths group and had a very similar experience that led to me making an attempt on my own life,’ one woman wrote.
‘I was unsuccessful and given a second chance to get out but unfortunately people like your son did not get that. I am so very sorry for your loss.’
Another wrote: ‘This is heartbreaking, I left the company earlier this year after 11 years of service when my mental health had severely spiralled after years of consistent bullying.’
Following the fatal crash, emergency services raced to the scene and spent 30 minutes to quell the flames.
They tried to assess Zachary for injuries, but he died in the blaze.
Police said the investigation is ongoing. A report has been prepared for the coroner.
For 24/7 confidential support, call Lifeline on 13 11 14
WOOLWORTHS’ FULL STATEMENT:
We’re devastated by Zach’s tragic passing and our thoughts remain with his loved ones at this incredibly difficult time.
Zach was a much loved member of our team and will be sorely missed.
We’ve extended our deepest condolences to the family and been in close contact over recent weeks to offer our care and practical support.
We understand the accident is the subject of a police investigation, which we will of course assist in any way we can.
It would be inappropriate for us to make any further comment at this time.