An 89-year-old man delivered their pizza. They collected over $12,000 in tips for him.

Strangers helping out strangers is always a heartwarming thing. But when lots and lots of strangers come together to help one individual who needs and deserves a little hand up, we get a much-needed flood of warm, gushy best-of-humanity feelings.

Such is the case of an 89-year-old pizza delivery man, Derlin Newey, who happened to win the hearts of the Valdez family after he delivered them a pizza and struck up a conversation. Newey had no idea his friendly demeanor and obviously stellar work ethic would soon make him a TikTok star, nor did he expect an outpouring of donations from perfect strangers that relieve some of his burden.

Carlos Valdez shared the initial pizza delivery video, taken through the family's Nest doorbell, on TikTok about a week ago. "Hello, are you looking for some pizza?" Newey says when they answer the door, then chats with them for a while.



"What is this guy doing delivering pizzas? True hustler," Valdez wrote when he shared the video. He decided to find out.

When Valdez discovered that the elderly man worked five or six shifts a week for Papa John's, he and his family decided to do something kind for him. They set up a Venmo account for their TikTok followers to donate to—Valdez specified small donations of $.25, $.50, or $1.00—and they would just see what kind of a "tip" they could collect for Newey.

In a week, they raised an impressive $12,069 for Newey—and he had no idea. After a couple more deliveries (set up by the Valdezes on purpose so they could get more info), Newey invited the Valdezes to come share a meal at his house—because that's just the kind of guy he is. And when they showed up they brought a big fake check.

Newey's reaction is priceless:

They also gave him the cash in an envelope right then and there.

"How do I ever say thank you," said Newey, clearly moved. "I don't know what to say."

Newey lives alone and says he works about 30 hours a week delivering pizzas because his social security check isn't enough to support him.

"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."

Valdez posted a follow-up thank-you video to his 60,000 followers on TikTok today.

"We did it. We all came together as a community to help a complete stranger that we didn't know. With everything that's going on in the world, I'm just glad that we pulled together, came together, to show some kindness during this time." After thanking everyone, he said he's received a lot of message from people who want to give something to help, so Valdez said he's going to keep the Venmo account open for people to donate, with all of the donations going directly to Newey.

Well done, Valdez family. Thank you for introducing us to the delightful Derlin Newey, and thank you for reminding us that people can be such forces for good.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.