An 89-year-old pizza delivery man recently went viral on TikTok, and he was subsequently surprised with a crowdfunded tip of $12,000 from his new fans. However, people online are upset that his story is being pegged as a “feel-good” one.
Derlin Newey started working at Papa John’s Pizza 30 hours a week because could not afford his bills with Social Security alone. One of his frequent customers, Carlos Valdez, began posting videos of Newey delivering pizzas to his family’s home to TikTok, where they went viral. “Hello, are you looking for some pizza?” Newey says as he makes his deliveries in the videos.
“It’s insane. Everybody loves him,” Valdez told NBC10 Philadelphia.
Valdez told the outlet his followers expressed discontent to see the senior citizen still working, so the “TikTok community” came together to raise $12,000 for Newey and surprise him with it at his door.
While some online are lauding the efforts of said TikTok community, they are saying Newey “shouldn’t have been in this position to begin with.”
Some are pointing to the story as proof of a broken system, as an 89-year-old cannot rely on what is supposed to act as a safety net for senior citizens and instead has to rely on “personal kindness” from others.
“This shit is so bleak,” one Twitter user wrote, quote-tweeting NBC10 Philadelphia’s promotion of the story.
Others are criticizing news outlets’ decisions to seemingly label it a heartwarming story, with one sarcastically calling it the “feel good story of the year.”
“Always weirds me out when dystopian shit’s dressed up in feel-good bells and whistles. Something’s wrong when an 89-year-old has to deliver pizza to cover his bills. Something’s even worse when he has to do it during a pandemic,” another wrote.
According to Yahoo! Finance, the Commonwealth Fund found that about a quarter of older adults have trouble affording healthcare, often leading their illnesses to go unchecked, which is especially concerning during a pandemic.
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