Pizza delivery man, 89, receives $12K tip after going viral on TikTok

Derlin Newey, who regularly doles out pizza for Papa John's, got a special delivery himself this week from a customer.

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An 89-year-old pizza delivery man got a surprising tip after his friendly greeting won the heart of one of his regular customers. 

Carlos Valdez shared his experience meeting Derlin Newey with his TikTok followers, who got together to raise $12,000 for the elderly man. 

“Hello! Are you looking for some pizza?” is Newey’s standard greeting when he delivers for Papa John’s. When delivering to Valdez at his home in Roy, Utah, the two chatted for several minutes, and Valdez posted a video to his social media account, where his followers positively commented. 

Valdez noted that Newey told him that he delivers pizzas 30 hours a week. 

“Somebody at that age should not be working that much,” he told KSL-TV. The sentiment was echoed by others on social media. 

“A very US genre of feel-good news that actually makes you feel worse: desperate person relies on personal kindness to maintain dignity that safety net fails to offer,” Georgetown professor Don Moynihan wrote. 

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“Always weirds me out when dystopian sh*t’s dressed up in feel-good bells and whistles. Something’s wrong when an 89-year-old has to deliver pizza to cover his bills. Something’s even worse when he has to do it during a pandemic,” another Twitter user wrote

For his part, Newey expressed his gratitude with tears in his eyes, saying, “How do I ever say thank you? I don’t know what to say.” 

The man lives in a mobile home and started delivering pizza because he can’t afford to pay his bills on simply his monthly social security payments. 

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“This isn’t a feel-good story,” Melanie D’Arrigio, a former congressional candidate, wrote on Twitter. “This a story about how our country has failed its seniors.”

It is the hope that the extra funds will mean that Newey can cut his hours back. 

“I’m just glad we could help him,” Valdez said, “We just need to treat people with kindness and respect the way he does.”

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