An 89-year-old pizza delivery driver has become TikTok’s latest trending star after receiving a more than US$12,000 (AU$17,000) tip.
Derlin Newey took up delivering pizzas for US chain Papa John’s Pizza in Utah, and works about 30 hours a week to make ends meet.
A few weeks ago he delivered a pizza to the Valdez family who quickly became fond of Mr Newey and began requesting him each time they ordered a pizza so they could have a chat and catch up.
Carlos Valdez thought Mr Newey was such a character he started sharing their interactions on his TikTok channel @vendingheads.
“It’s insane. Everybody loves him,” Mr Valdez told US news outlet KSL.
Fans quickly fell in love with Mr Newey and his signature catch phrase: “Hello, are you looking for some pizza?”
They were curious why such an elderly man was delivering pizza.
After explaining he lived in a trailer and was having trouble living off his social security payments, the Valdez family and their followers decided they wanted to do something nice for Mr Newey.
Mr Valdez asked his more than 60,000 followers to each make small donations of 50 cents to a dollar so they could give Mr Newey a generous tip.
When the total came in he was left in shock at how generous his followers had been.
“Collectively as a TikTok community, we all came together, and we were able to raise US$12,000 for this amazing person,” Mr Valdez told KSL.
On Tuesday morning (local time), the Valdez family made a special delivery to Mr Newey’s home with a cheque of US$12,000 (AU$17,000).
“We collectively collected a gift for you, and I’m here to deliver that gift to you on behalf of the TikTok community,” Mr Valdez said in the TikTok video of the delivery.
Mr Newey was slightly confused at first and said he didn’t know what TikTok was.
“Is that an online group you communicate with each other through the telephone?” he asked.
After taking a while for it to sink in, Mr Newey was left speechless by the generous tip.
“How do I ever say thank you? I don’t know what to say,” the elderly man said with tears in his eyes.
Mr Newey doesn’t plan to stop working for Papa John’s Pizza, but he has told his TikTok fans the money will allow him to cut back on his hours.
“This couldn’t have gone any better,” Mr 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.”
The Valdez family and Mr Newey have since developed a close friendship and continue to make TikTok videos together.
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