Derlin Newey is an 89-year-old Papa John’s pizza delivery driver in Roy, Utah. And he’s also a bit of a TikTok sensation.
One particularly thoughtful customer, Carlos Valdez (aka @vendingheads on TikTok), propelled him to heartwarming fame by recording a series of his deliveries in which he opens the door to Newey holding a pizza and asking “Hello, are you looking for some pizza?”
Not only do the Valdez’s like their Papa Johns, they like Newey and request him as their driver.
And with a following as big as that of @vendingheads, it’s clear that the TikTok star has also tapped into people’s love of watching good deeds.
“It’s insane,” Valdez told NBC affiliate KSL. “Everybody loves him.”
In September of 2020, Valdez turned the tables of Newey by showing up at his door.
And since he’s known for handing out swag such as t-shirts to his viewers, the pizza delivery driver assumed his customer had made up something like a t-shirt with his tagline “Hello, are you looking for some pizza?” on it.
But Valdez’s surprise gift for Newey was something much bigger than that!
(Although there was a t-shirt involved too!)
A TikTok video recorded the heartwarming moment in which Newey opens his gift.
“No,” he started. “Why would you do such a thing?”
It turns out Newey had been collecting money for the tip of a lifetime for his favorite delivery man while posting the videos of him delivering pizza to TikTok.
He presented him with a check for an unbelievable $12,000!
“How do I ever say thank you? I don’t know what to say,” Newey said through tears.
In an interview with KSL TV, Newey said he still works at age 89 because his Social Security checks just aren’t enough to live on.
He works 30 hours a week at Papa John’s to make ends meet.
One particularly funny moment in the heartwarming video is when Valdez had to explain where the tip came from. Newey doesn’t quite know what TikTok is.
“You communicate with each other through the telephone?” he ventured.
Even though the $12,000 is now in the hands of its recipient, Valdez is still collecting donations for Newey – and plenty of people have been willing to give via Valdez’s Venmo account at Carlos-Valdez-50.
Valdez’s hope is that Newey won’t have to work as much to make ends meet with a little help from his virtual friends.
“This couldn’t have gone any better,” Valdez told KSL. “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.”
While thousands more dollars have been raised for Newey on other platforms such as GoFundMe, none have been verified, though they do appear to be genuine.
In any case, it looks like Newey might be able to take some time off very soon in anticipation of his 9th decade!
You can click here to see all the most recent updates on Newey’s story.
Be sure to scroll down below to see both the TikTok video and a local news story with interviews from both men.
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@vendingheadsHere it is 😍 ##fyp ##venmochallenge ##🍕man ##love ##blessed ##gift ##lovewins♬ Aesthetic Girl – Yusei
89-year old Derlin Newey started delivering pizzas to make ends meet. He never thought one of his customers would change everything. Here’s our story for @KSL5TV on the delivery he never saw coming. #ksltv #goodnews
— Alex Cabrero (@KSL_AlexCabrero) September 23, 2020