He couldn’t help the deep frown that formed on his face as he watched the only man tightly grip the box as tears streamed down his face.
The secret was out now, everyone in the community knew and they weren’t going to ignore it. The cops flooded the room and he couldn’t help but wonder what would come of the old man.
Carlos Valdez and his wife were fast food addicts.
It was a bit embrassaing how much they actually ate, but resisting was impossible. One of their major weaknesses was pizza. The father of one even had his favorites on speed dial. But after they were forced to move to a new town, things took an unexpected turn.
It was the expected shuffling of boxes and general chaos in every room. But they were determined to keep their delivery schedule going.
Carlos pulled out his phone and called the closet Papa Johns. Tonight would be supreme plus 12-inch, extra pepperoni of course, with a side of astonishment.
The bell rang. The man standing before Carlos wasn’t what he would expect from a pizza delivery man.
The gentleman was old … old enough to be his grandfather. There was no way a man that age should be working. But the elderly employee smiled, handed over the food, and left with a friendly wave. Carlos spotted something else.
As weeks turned into months, Carlos noticed the senior made regular appearances around town – always driving the same shoddy car and toting piles of boxes.
After many visits to the Valdez’s front door, and some chit chat, he found out two things.
First, the man’s name was Derlin. Second, he was 89 years old!
He also always showed up with a big smile. But, to Carlos, something felt off. It might have been a tad paranoid, but one day, the dad decided to set up a hidden camera. He had to know if others felt the same thing he did.
The next evening, he and the old man had another talk over a large four-cheese and mushroom.
It was things about the weather, kids starting vacations, and a few bits of local gossip. However, Carlos managed to pull out one very useful piece of information.
Derlin Newey … a full name. Carlos was finally able to do a proper internet search.
In no time, he had a list of phone numbers. And the people on the other end of the mobile all had the same, troubling inkling. Each and every one of them had seen the old-timer going into places he shouldn’t have. Carlos knew the next step.
It didn’t take long for people to listen, especially after they saw the video.
And, thankfully, the police seemed to be very keen on stepping in. All he wanted was to be there when it all unfolded. A couple of days later, Carlos found himself walking up Derlin’s pathway.
After a couple of ding dongs on the bell, the old, wrinkled face peeked out the window.
His eyes went wide as he opened the door and saw the row of police. Carlos reached out. “May we come in?” he asked, offering a handshake. Derlin gave a nervous smile and nodded.
Inside was simple and tidy. The only so-called clutter was the many photos of a beautiful woman.
“I have something for you,” Carlos said. He held his breath and handed over a pizza box. Derlin took it with shaking hands. But when he opened it, the shivering went to his entire body
Inside the box was $12,000 and a custom t-shirt with a cartoon drawing of the grandfather.
“I saw something that didn’t sit well with me,” Carlos said. “So I reached out to my TikTok fans and showed them a clip of you.” What was the thing that everyone saw and agreed on, the thing that worried them all?
A man his age should not have been working, and especially not delivering things to more dangerous parts of town!
So, everyone pitched together to give him the biggest tip of his life. The old pizza delivery man broke into tears. But that wasn’t the end.
The officers also knew about the senior’s situation – after all, they were customers of his too.
Each and every one of them promised they would make regular visits, not only to make sure he was okay but to keep him company and show their appreciation. Derlin finally shared his secret. His wife had died only a few years ago, and he was no longer able to live on his pension checks.
He had to work just to eat. He had also been very lonely, but too proud to say anything.
Through the sobs he thanked them over and over again, saying he had new hope in life. Carlos gave him a huge hug and said that his wife and daughter wanted him to be a part of their regular family dinners. But this time, they would bring the food.