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89-Year-Old Pizza Delivery Man Left Sobbing After Being Surprised with Check for $12,000

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When you see someone in their later years working, sometimes you wonder why. Is it for the social aspect? Do they just love their job?

Oftentimes, the reality is much more sad — many people, once they reach the years where they should be kicking back and spending time doing what they want, have to work out of financial necessity.

Derlin Newey, an 89-year-old from Weber County, Utah, is one of those people. He’s already reached an impressive age, but his Social Security checks aren’t covering his expenses.

“I work about 30 hours a week,” he told KSL-TV.

He works for a local Papa John’s as a delivery man, and despite being forced to work at his advanced age, he hasn’t let that affect his attitude — something the Valdez family recognized and honored.

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Fans of pizza, the Valdezes order Papa John’s quite often. And when they do, they specifically request Newey, who always shows up with his signature greeting: “Hello, are you looking for some pizza?”

The Valdezes, who have over 60,000 followers on TikTok, have featured Newey in the past, and their viewers have fallen in love with the elderly gentleman.

“It’s insane,” dad Carlos Valdez said. “Everybody loves him.”

The family has grown so fond of him that they decided to do something wonderful for the man.

After they started a fundraiser for Newey, it wasn’t long before generous donors had given to the tune of $12,000 — a sizable amount by any standard, but especially so for someone in Newey’s shoes.

“Collectively as a community, we all came together, and we were able to raise $12,000 for this amazing person,” Valdez explained. “Somebody at that age should not be working that much.”

All that was left was to surprise Newey in his own home, making a special delivery to their special delivery man.

“Good morning, dude! How you doing?” Valdez greeted Newey.

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The “TikTok famous” delivery man thought they were going to bring him a shirt with his signature saying (which they did), but he got far more than he had expected when Valdez handed him a fat envelope stuffed with cash.

“We collectively collected a gift for you, and I’m here to deliver that gift to you on behalf of the TikTok community,” Valdez said.

Newey didn’t even know what TikTok was, asking “[i]s that an online group you communicate with each other through the telephone?” But it was more real than ever after he had the cold, hard cash in his hands.

“This couldn’t have gone any better,” Valdez said. “He needed this. I’m just glad we could help him. We just need to treat people with kindness and respect the way he does. He stole our hearts.”

Upon receiving the cash, Newey was at a loss for words. According to photos taken by KSL-TV, he also received a large check stating the amount donated. Tears welled up in his eyes as he gratefully accepted the amazing gift.

Since the story has made the rounds, many more people have offered to donate to Newey’s cause, his story warming their hearts.

People interested in helping Newey have been directed to the Valdez TikTok account, where more information on donating is available.

“How do I ever say thank you? I don’t know what to say,” Newey said.

“I don’t know what to say, except thank you.”

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Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she's strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.
As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn't really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.
She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she's had teal hair.
With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children's books with her husband, Edward.
Austin, Texas
Languages Spoken
English und ein bißchen Deutsch
Topics of Expertise
Faith, Animals, Cooking