Acts of Kindness
89-yr-old starts delivering pizzas to make ends meet underestimating customer that always films him
89-year-old Derlin couldn’t have seen this coming.
Laura Shallcross
10.01.20

If you don’t use TikTok, you’ve probably at least heard of it by now. The social networking app is primarily used for sharing videos, mostly of people dancing or lip-syncing to pop songs.

But there’s more depth to TikTok than some people realize. The app has been used to raise important topics, share inspiring stories, and help people to come together for the better.

One man who had probably never even heard of TikTok until now is 89-year-old Derlin Newey.

The Papa John’s pizza delivery driver lives in Utah, and works 30 hours a week to bring in some extra funds after realizing that he wouldn’t be able to live on his social security.

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Over his years of service, Derlin has built up a loyal fanbase of TikTok users. The Valdez family are some of Derlins’ biggest fans.

The family always ask for Derlin when they order a pizza, and on their TikTok channel, @vendingheads, they started recording Derlin’s arrivals with their orders.

Speaking to CNN, Carlos Valdez said of Derlin:

“It’s insane. Everybody loves him.”

According to the family, Derlin’s signature opening line to his customers is: “Hello, are you looking for some pizza?” His relentless kindness and friendliness never failed to make the Valdezes smile.

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The Valdez family are fairly famous on TikTok, with more than 53,000 followers. Many of the people who watched the family’s videos began to question why a man of Derlin’s age was delivering pizzas instead of enjoying a quiet retirement.

Of course, some people choose to continue to work past retirement age, but Derlin had a different story. He had to work to afford to live.

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The average social security benefit isn’t enough to retire on. For this reason, people like Derlin have to continue working at a time when they should be taking a well-earned break.

The Valdez family decided that they should use their position on TikTok for the greater good. They believed that somebody at his age shouldn’t be working so much, and they decided they’d raise money for Derlin to help him enjoy more time at home.

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After asking their followers to make donations to Derlin, the family were overwhelmed with the response they received. Within weeks, the Valdezes received $12,000 in donations, which they presented to Derlin in a single check, signed, “The TikTok Family”.

Derlin was blown away by the family’s generosity and was astonished to know that he had become something of a TikTok legend. He said to CNN:

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

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Along with the cash, the Valdezes presented Derlin with a t-shirt that suited him perfectly. It read: “Hello, are you looking for some pizza?”

Thanks to the generosity of a family who were strangers to him, Derlin will be able to put his money towards a treat – perhaps a few days off are in order!

Carlos 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.”

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His message couldn’t be more important than today, when we need one another’s love, respect and support more than ever before. Press “play” in the video below to watch Derlin in action, as recorded by the Valdez family.

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By Laura Shallcross
hi@sbly.com
Laura Shallcross is a contributor at SBLY Media.
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