For the most part, this year has been a continuation of the madness and boredom of 2020. But for one Indiana pizza delivery man, it started off with a huge surprise – the good kind!
Robert Peters has been delivering pizzas for 31 years at a Tipton, Indiana Pizza Hut, much of it from his ’93 Oldsmobile Cutlass Sierra (with over 205,000 miles on it!).
Loving the job
Peters truly loves his job – and the company says he’s one of the longest-tenured delivery people they’ve ever had.
That might not seem like an accomplishment to most, but Peters doesn’t mind.
“There were people in my family that were like, ‘Maybe you should consider something a little more financially stable.’ But it’s my purpose in life — trying to make people happy. You know, when you’re delivering to somebody, you may be the only face they see all day,” he told CBS Evening News.
The 58-year-old has become a favorite face in the small town because he’s always got a smile.
“A smile may do more for that person than you think,” he told the Kokomo Tribune. “I heard a while ago that if someone sees you smile, that may be the only smile they see all day, or you might be the only person they talk to that day.”
The tip of a lifetime
Imagine Peters’ surprise one day when a customer gave him the tip of a lifetime. It wasn’t cash, but a new car!
“I couldn’t believe it, it’s almost like it’s surreal,” he told CBS.
Tanner Langley is a Pizza Hut regular and knows Peters well.
“He’s well known in the community for just being an incredible guy,” Langley said. “I’ve never seen him not smile. I’ve never not seen him just be a generous, awesome guy. He just radiates joy.”
So when he heard that the man’s car was having issues, he thought it was the right time for the community to get together and reward his service. He launched a GoFundMe campaign called “Driving Miles with Mr. Smiles” that managed to raise $16,000 of a $12,000 goal in just 3 days!
“This guy has been wholesome and awesome his whole life, but here he is having to borrow his mom’s car,” Langley told the Tribune. “It just didn’t seem right that he’s been such a good person his whole life and he has to worry about his car working every day, when he relies so much on his vehicle.”
The cherry on top
After arranging a good price on a new car with Dan Young Chevrolet Buick GMC, Langley drove a shiny, red 2017 Chevy Malibu to the local Pizza Hut on a Monday morning to give Peters his “tip.”
The campaign had been shared so many times on social media that he knew Peters was probably aware of what was going on, but the man still couldn’t believe his eyes when he saw the new car.
“This is kind of beyond my comprehension,” Peters told the Tribune. “It’s almost surreal. I can’t believe people would do this. I was just doing my job and trying to make someone’s day better by delivering a pizza, a smile and being friendly to them.”
But Langley told Peters he deserved it. “Everybody loves you,” he told him.
A new lease on life
Any extra money (that kept coming in even after the car was purchased) was used to pay for insurance, gas cards, maintenance, and some cash for everyone’s favorite pizza delivery man.
The choice of vehicle wasn’t entirely up to Langley. Once he knew Peters had heard about the GoFundMe, he gently inquired about the kind of car he might like.
But he still can’t believe the community banded together during such hard times for him. Now he’s even more excited to be delivering their pizzas, a job he has no intention of giving up.
“I don’t want to be a person who’s just going through the motions, and be like, ‘Well, I’ve got to do this,’” he said. “I actually want to make peoples’ days better. I really do appreciate them, because after all, they’re paying my salary and livelihood.”
Be sure to scroll down to watch the heartwarming video!
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