An 89-year-old pizza delivery man in Weber County, Utah went viral on TikTok for being the friendliest pizza delivery man around. A family ordered pizza and then shared their interaction with the delivery man, Derlin Newey, on TikTok. It went totally viral.
"Hello, are you looking for some pizza?" Newey says when he approaches their door with their order. Carlos Valdez and his wife had a lovely chat with Newey, who lives in the same area they do. They posted the home security footage of their nice interaction on TikTok, and it blew up.
The Valdezes enjoy their interactions with Newey so much that they request him as their delivery driver every time they order now. And their TikTok viewers love seeing him on their videos. "It's insane. Everybody loves him," Carlos told KSL.
Eventually, people in the comments started sharing their concern that an 89-year-old man has been forced to continue to work. The Valdezes got the idea to use their audience, of more than 60,000 followers, to raise as much money as they could for Newey. He brings so much joy to the people he touches with his good humored delivery services and beyond, and they wanted to show their appreciation.
Carlos thought they'd maybe get a few donations an would be able to give him a nice, big tip. But they were able to collect $12,000 for Newey. "Collectively as a TikTok community, we all came together, and we were able to raise $12,000 for this amazing person," Carlos said.
The Valdezes went to Derlin Newey's home to surprise him with the money. They recorded his shocked and emotional reaction and also shared that with their TikTok users, the people who made it happen.
Newey thought they were going to give him a t-shirt...which they did. He just didn't also anticipate $12,000. He started to tear up when they presented him with the money. "How do I every say thank you? I don't know what to say," he said.
KSL reports that Newey lives alone in his mobile home. He got a job delivering pizzas at 89 years old because he couldn't afford to pay his bills on social security alone. Now, he works about 30 hours a week.
While many applauded the generosity of Carlos and the TIkTok community, Newey's story is a reminder that our system is broken. An 89-year-old man should not have to work 30 hours a week delivering pizzas because he can't afford to live alone in a mobile home on the social security he receives.
"Always weirds me out when dystopian s--t's dressed up in feel-good bells and whistles," one Twitter user wrote. "Something's wrong when an 89-year-old had to deliver pizza to cover his bills. Something's even worse when he has to do it during a pandemic."
In a truly kind system that cared about its people, Newey would not have to work at 89 to make ends meet. He wouldn't have to rely on strangers on the internet for a little reprieve.
Journalist Yashar Ali sums it up: "That an 89-year-old has to deliver pizza to pay his bills (by his own account) should cause us great shame. I'm so glad people on TikTok helped him out but he shouldn't have been in this position to begin with."