An online fundraiser for 89-year-old Derlin Newey — who works 30 hours a week at a Papa John’s in Roy, Utah, in order to pay his bills — received more than $12,000 in donations after he went viral on the internet earlier this month.
A video captured the incredible moment a local family delivered the donation to the incredibly hardworking elderly man.
Newey unknowingly gained internet fame on TikTok earlier this month when he delivered pizza to a family.
Carlos Valdez and his family recorded their interaction with Newey, who engaged the family in kind and polite conversation while he delivered their food.
Valdez and his family boast more than 53,000 followers on the popular video-sharing platform.
Valdez told KSL-TV that Newey often delivers pizza to the family’s home and greets them in a typical fashion each time, chirping, “Hello, are you looking for some pizza?”
Valdez says that the family has grown so fond of the delivery man that they request him each time they order their Papa John’s.
The family shared the footage to their TikTok account, which drew appreciation from their followers and quickly went viral.
Following fans’ thirst to know more about Newey, Valdez decided to create a fundraiser for the elderly Papa John’s employee. He set up the donation through a Venmo account, which drew in donations from across the country.
“Somebody at that age should not be working that much,” Valdez said.
The Valdez family later started a fundraiser for Newey, and ended up raising $12,069 for the elderly man, who lives alone in his mobile home.
On Tuesday, the Valdez family delivered the donation to a tearful Newey via check.
Valdez told Newey, “We collectively collected a gift for you, and I’m here to deliver that gift to you on behalf of the TikTok community.”
A clearly emotional Newey cried, “How do I ever thank you? I don’t know what to say.”
The family also presented him with a custom-made T-shirt reading “Hello, are you looking for some pizza?”
Valdez added that he hopes the donation will take some financial strain off of the elderly gentleman.
“He needed this,” Valdez said. “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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